SANTA will be lonely on his sleigh this Christmas after Scrooge insurers refused to cover his elves.

Brighton Rotary Club’s sleigh dashes through the city every year to bring joy to children, but their insurance company lost their festive cheer and said they will not let any passengers accompany Father Christmas in delivering presents.

Initially the company kicked the sleigh off the road, unwilling to continue the policy and threatening to cancel Christmas for young ones.

They said Santa must get behind the wheel of a car due to health and safety concerns - after 40 years in the business.

Alan Pocock, the club’s vice-president, has dressed as Santa and steered the sleigh for the past decade.

The 73-year-old ridiculed the original decision when speaking to a national newspaper.

He said: “It’s ridiculous really that after 40 years of Santa riding in his sleigh he has now been banished to the towing car.

“It’s all down to the insurance firm who say that if an accident were to occur then Santa would not be covered if he was riding in the sleigh.”

However, in light of the faux pas, the insurers backed Mr Pocock and he was out on the road to deliver sweets to children last night - but with a lighter load.

The terms of the new agreement laid out by the company means no passengers can board the sleigh, which cruises at a speed of just 5mph.

Mr Pocock will be taking to the streets tonight to get sweets to the children of Brighton and Hove.

The event has also raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years.

Yesterday the rotary club said they have renewed their policy to have the sleigh on the roads.

They said: “Santa is happy to report that he has now been given permission to ride on his sleigh again, but must carry no passengers.

“This means that parcel deliveries on Christmas Eve will go ahead as usual, many thanks for your support.”