STORMY seas could prevent the annual Christmas Day dip on the seafront.

A council seafront manager has warned people not to take the risk, as the beach in Brighton is too dangerous.

In previous years bathers have ignored council warnings, including in 2016 when they crossed tape put on the beach, and in 2017 where more than 100 took part in the annual tradition.

But forecasters say winds are expected to whip up the waves today and there are fears conditions could be too dangerous.

Meanwhile council bosses say the recent collapse of part of a groyne near the pier is testament to how powerful the sea can be.

Seafront operations manager Chris Ingall has warned non-regular sea swimmers not to enter the water.

He said: “Unfortunately we discourage people entering our stretch of coastline.

“There are steep shingle banks which can be slippery, deep water, and cold seas.

“It can cause cold water shock to the body and people start shaking uncontrollably.

“Those who swim in the sea regularly are acclimatised.

“There are various safety measures regular swimmers take.

“When I go out on a paddle board I would only go out with a thick protective wet suit, for example.

“If people go in for a swim, they may not be in the best physical condition after Christmas, many may have over indulged or had alcohol.

“The cold causes muscles to stiffen, and so even those who are reasonably good swimmers can turn into pretty poor swimmers quite quickly.

“Any slight overindulgence can have a negative impact of people’s reactions in cold water, and prove very dangerous.”

Going for a dip on Christmas Day or Boxing Day is a tradition in many coastal resorts.

In Brighton it is claimed the tradition is at least 150 years old, as our Victorian ancestors took to the water in growing numbers.

Usually the Brighton and Hove Sea Swimming Club, based at the Palace Pier, holds a swim.

In previous years, such as in 2017, conditions were very rough, but more than 100 bathers ignored the council and the club to get into the water.

Some were even pictured taking selfies, and no one was reported injured or hurt.

A year earlier bathers accused the council of acting like a “nanny state” to control people’s behaviour and curb a historic tradition.

But Mr Ingall said that Brighton and Hove beach, and the eight-mile long stretch which is managed by the council is not the same as many others around the country.

He said: “There are no sheltered coves or bays.

“We would like everyone to have a nice Christmas, and keep their friends and family safe.

“Going in the sea at this time of year is not the best thing to do.

“There are organised swims around the South Coast, but we will not be organising or promoting one here.”