By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Residents in Hugo Court, Narre Warren will continue to spark up their spectacular Christmas lights despite being shut down by a Victoria Police officer in the middle of the light.
For more than a decade, every one of the court’s 10 households have hoisted elaborate light displays of Santas on sleighs, dinosaurs and even a Christmas tree of VB cans.
It has certainly attracted a crowd, including from smiling police bringing along their kids, residents say.
CFA and SES units have been known to bring in their trucks, and even supply a jolly Santa.
So it was quite a surprise for Mark Morrison when he was awoken by an “extremely angry” police member banging on his door, demanding him to turn out his lights about 10.50pm on 13 December.
“You’re causing traffic chaos,” the officer allegedly told him.
Each house got a visit, and darkness soon descended upon the court.
Neighbour Tim Winter says the officer told him that traffic was jammed down to Kurrajong Road – and even Narre Warren North Road about a kilometre away.
Residents say the officer told them they needed a permit to shine their displays after 9.30pm – around the same time that the night gets properly dark.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police asked residents to turn off the lights to help clear away traffic due to safety issues.
There had been a few complaints from neighbours, residents say. But they have done their best to discourage visitors driving their cars into the court.
On the residents’ Facebook page, they’ve posted suggested park-and-walk options. They may look at closing down the lights earlier on weeknights.
The crowds have swelled on the tide of social media – the lights recently gaining 190,000 visits on a post on a Mornington Peninsula-based Facebook site.
A man in the States sold Mr Winter an inflatable Christmas triceratops on the strength of Hugo Court’s reputation.
It takes several days for each resident to install their lights, but it’s more than worth it.
“We just want to put a smile on people’s faces,” Mr Morrison said.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 95, everyone has got a grin from ear to ear.”
Resident Kim Winter adds: “The best thing is when people say we can feel the spirit of Christmas here.”
Casey Council has since confirmed that the residents do not require a permit to run Christmas lights at night.