Northumbrian Water is putting up a tree to highlight a very different Christmas message this festive season.

It comes as the North East water company is dreaming of a wipe-free Christmas, and is encouraging residents across the region to do the same.


Last year, around 13,000 blockages had to be cleared from the sewer network, and the majority of them were as a result of wet wipes being flushed down the loo.


Fat in the sewers is also a big problem, particularly at this time of year, when the grease from Christmas cooking is poured down the sink. It solidifies and builds up in the sewer, and can lead to flooding.


The company spends nearly £400,000 every year clearing blockages and sending items like wipes and sanitary towels to landfill, where they should have gone in the first place.


Production Operator Chris Hepple, who built the tree which is made entirely of wet wipes wrongly flushed, said: "We′re driving home for Christmas just how important it is not to flush anything other than toilet paper, pee and poo down the loo.


"Good drain care is for life, not just for Christmas but our tree is certainly a unique reminder of what you should and shouldn′t put down your toilets and sinks, to help keep the sewers flowing.


"Blocked drains can cause so much damage to our networks, our customers′ homes and the environment and we don′t want anybody to have a nightmare before Christmas."


Customers should avoid putting fat down sinks, allowing it to solidify before disposing of it in the bin, and to only flush toilet paper, pee and poo down the loo.