A couple who transformed their home into an incredible Disneyland Christmas display have been forced to switch off the lights after police were called over concerns of social distancing from visitors.
The huge fairytale castle scene has been constructed by Dan and Mark Extance-Warr for the past four years and always attracts plenty of guests to take pictures of their home in Tintinhull, Somerset.
Dan estimates they have splashed out about £50,000 over the years to put it altogether, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.
But the couple pulled the plug on the elaborate display this weekend after Avon and Somerset Police were called with concerns, as reported by Somerset Live.
Dan and Mark says they had urged people to take care and be respectful of social distancing rules when gathering outside, with Dan even marshalling the crowds with a team to try and ensure the crowds remained safe.
Police confirmed they advised turning off the lights after “hundreds” of people gathered, and the couple wrote on Facebook : “We are sorry but we have had to turn the lights off, due to someone phoning the police about social distancing.
“We have asked this time and time again. We have also had a lot of people visiting from tier three areas.
“The police have said we have manned the lights perfectly, but unfortunately a small amount have ruined it for everyone else.
“We will be off for a few days and will try again when we feel safe to do it.”
Dan told Somerset Live the display had not been shut down by police, but officers had advised them to turn off the lights due to amount of flocking to their home.
He added they had even received death threats posted through their door due to visitors blocking driveways, and suffered abuse from the public when they had attempted to enforce social distancing.
He said: “After the grief we have encountered over the last week, we couldn’t be anymore in agreement with them.
“We personally have decided to turn them off for a while to hopefully help calm the ‘visitor attendance’.
“When and if we feel it’s safe to do so, we may turn them back on, but as it stands we have no intentions on turning them on, they certainly will not be on this week.”
He said their appeals for people to park responsibly, to social distance, and not to rush to the display as they had planned to keep it on until January 6 were all ignored.
“So this is the consequences,” Dan added. “Such a shame as we have had many pleasant families who have stuck to our requests and have helped us keep everyone else safe. There’s always a certain few who think the rules don’t apply to them.”
Any funds collected from the display this year will go to Macmillan, the NHS, the local air ambulance and several other causes, so far raising about £1,200.
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed to Somerset Live: “Yes we did have a call from a member of the public about this.
“There was a large number of people running into hundreds waiting to see them.
“Officers spoke to the organisers and they agreed they would turn them off due to the significant crowds gathering, which was in excess of what they’d expected.”
Dan and Mark, who have been married for six years, added on social media: “Please stop slating the person who called the police – we are actually thankful!
“It was getting out of hand and we have had enough of death threats through our door (because people blocking driveways) and abuse from the public – people were ignoring us when we asked them to social distance.”