PEOPLE are fuming after noticing the Halfords Christmas TV advert shows a girl riding her bike on a “no cycling” path.

The short sequence was filmed at Patterson’s Walk in Ferring, which is signposted “no cycling”.

It shows the child gleefully taking her new bike for a spin along the seafront walk, accompanied by the slogan: “Give the gift that keeps on giving”.

But residents in Ferring, near Worthing, are furious. They claim the advert encourages dangerous behaviour.

Ed Miller, secretary of the 1,000-member Ferring Conservation Group, said he was frustrated with Arun District Council for granting Halfords permission to film on the path.

“Halfords and the council should know better than to arrange filming the cycling sequence on Patterson’s Walk,” he said.

“It’s not something people should be doing at all – it’s a footpath. There are bylaws and there are notices to say cycling is not permitted. There’s no excuse for it.

“In some sense this might appear trivial. But children, elderly people and dog walkers use the path, there isn’t room for cyclists.

“We don’t expect council officers to be down there every day. But when they get an opportunity like this they should not be encouraging people to come and ride their bikes here.

“Cyclists on the path cause a lot of nuisance. A member of ours alerted me to the problem, and people are upset.”

One resident, Steve Rugg, took issue with the advert and spoke about a near miss on the path.

He said: “My wife and I were walking along Patterson’s Walk when we were nearly hit by a speeding cyclist from behind.

“If nothing is done, then I fear it is only a matter of time before a child or elderly person is seriously hurt, because my experience is only one of many.”

A spokeswoman from Arun District Council said: “The council is aware that there have been complaints from local residents regarding the recent filming of an advert for Halfords. Whilst there is signage at Patterson’s Walk stating no cycling, there is no actual bylaw in place to prohibit it at this site, neither is there an official public footpath or public bridleway designation in place.

“The ‘no cycling’ signs are historical mitigation in response to complaints and conflict between parties on both sides of the cycling argument. We are aware that the situation and signage requires review.

“An application to film was received from Halfords in early October and approved for ‘Ferring beach’.

“We appreciate this has caused some concern and will be taking steps to review the current situation. Ideally this public open space could be enjoyed and shared safely by all.”

A spokeswoman for Halfords said: “We are passionate about encouraging more people to cycle and our Christmas TV ad aims to do just that.

“Ahead of and during filming of our six-year-old star, we sought all relevant permissions from local councils and created the ad in good faith, working closely with local organisations.

“We take the safety of all road users and pedestrians very seriously and apologise for any upset caused.”