'A DEATH blow' has been dealt to the Britannia Coconut Dancers after it received an 'ultimatum' to pay £4,000 for traffic management or cancel their famous procession.

The dance troupe say Lancashire Police have refused to marshal traffic during their annual parade on Easter Saturday.

Coconutters treasurer, Neville Earnshaw, said Lancashire County Hall bosses had told them to either appoint a traffic management company or they will appoint one and send them the bill.

Mr Earnshaw said the 250-year-old dance through the streets of Bacup had been dealt a 'death blow'.

He said: “This act by the police and County Hall appears to be a game-changer that must result in the demise of a large slice of Bacup’s living heritage.

“This comes even though we have unanimous local support for our boundary dance from the people of Bacup and beyond.

“It is a pity that the local authorities do not share that pride in an aspect of local heritage that really puts Bacup on the map.

“Our discussions with organisers of events in other parts of the country indicate that they manage to marshal street events with volunteer stewards, with the full agreement of the local authorities and the police.

“We will make a final decisionafter we have received legal advice on the issue.”

Lancashire County Council was unavailable for comment.