EBENEZER Scrooge provided the inspiration for this year's best dressed Christmas shop window in Barnard Castle.

Traders were challenged to come up with a Dickensian display and judges awarded the trophy to staff at Oliviers furniture store, in Galgate.

But far from the traditional seasonal scene, they dressed their window up using sawdust, a dead tree and a meagre tin of soup instead of a festive feast – a very Scrooge-like setting.

The trophy-winning display has now been replaced by a nativity scene.

Sales consultant Gina Russell said: “We chose Scrooge to fit in with the Dickens theme. We were very surprised to win.

“Now we have gone back to the traditional nativity scene that we have in the window every year – you see people bringing their children to see it. They really enjoy it.”

The annual Christmas window competition is run by the Barney Guild – the town's traders' association – in conjunction with Barnard Castle Meet.

The competition was fierce this year with three other windows being singled out for praise: Bohemia, the new shop on Galgate; Allium, a previous competition winner and Zara Countrywear. All three had gone for a traditional and Dickensian display.

Annalisa Ward, Barney Guild secretary, said: “The standard of entries was very high with only a few points separating each entry.

“The organisers would like to congratulate every business who took part. The decorated windows add to the lights and Christmas tree displays to give the town that Christmas sparkle.”