A GIANT effigy of Theresa May driving a red Brexit bus off a cliff with Jacob Rees-Mogg as a passenger went up in flames at Lewes last night.

Another giant model had the Prime Minister wearing a leopard print dress and shoes and a bag over her head with Number 10 as a sinking ship.

Mrs May was a popular target on the night when controversial figures traditionally meet a fiery end.

An effigy of Boris Johnson – stomach protruding from his shirt and a cat with the face of Jacob Rees-Mogg pawing at his leg – was holding an axe and what appeared to be the PM’s severed head.

Thousands lined the streets to watch the annual Lewes Bonfire spectacle but the consensus was that crowds were down on previous years – a relief for the emergency services.

Railway stations were shut from early in the day and people from outside the town were urged to stay away.

Carol Todd and her husband, David, 74, have lived in Lewes for 18 years. She said: “It seems to be a little quieter this year, maybe down to the trains.

“It’s amazing the amount of effort people are putting in – some people come from far away to do it.”

David said: “Years back the bangers were a nightmare with people throwing them everywhere. They have definitely improved the health and safety.”

There was a heavy police presence with many officers holding fire extinguishers and standing guard in doorways as the spectacle unfolded.

The high priest of Cliffe, the oldest of the bonfire societies, addressed the crowd before they marched through the town.

The members, dressed in a variety of outfits from the First World War soldiers to clergy members, listened to his impassioned speech which referenced the centenary of the end of the Great War.

He said: “We are gathered around to remember the 17 martyrs burnt at the stake. These martyrs remained true to each other and till death.

“We shall also remember, in a bonfire manner, the members of the Cliffe who made the ultimate sacrifice in the battle field. One hundred years ago tonight, there were no torches and bands. Our members were miles away fighting for country.”

The societies paraded through the town for some two hours before splitting to go off to their individual celebrations where all kinds of

effigies were tossed on to giant bonfires.

Flaming tar barrels were run down the hill to the River Ouse where many society members hurled

their flaming torches into the inky waters.

Borough Bonfire Society produced a tableau of a steam engine entitled the “Lewes Ghost Train” in a nod to the problems the town has faced with public transport provided by Southern Railway.

And the company came under fire from society spokesman Mick Symes for running a limited train service during the event.

The town was one of those along the south coast hit by major

disruption during the long-running union dispute over working conditions and during the recent timetable overhaul.

David Hendy, professor of media and cultural history at the University of Sussex, was one of the spectators to share images of the creation on Twitter.

Linzi Burnett, 57, who has never been to Lewes Bonfire before, said the whole spectacle was “fantastic”.

She added:”It’s bigger and better even than I thought it would be.”

Turn to pages 4 and 5 for more fantastic Bonfire Night pictures.