Bideford traders are urging people to shop local when looking for their Christmas gifts, food and treats.

One Bideford, working with Bideford Bay Chamber of Commerce and Torridge District Council, have printed posters urging people to support their local shops and restaurants.

Gallery owner Jill Rousseau has been spearheading the campaign.

She said: “When you shop at an independent business, you’re buying a piece of that shopkeeper’s heart.

“We don’t buy from a central buying system, we select all out own pieces. It doesn’t matter which kind of shop it is.

“This campaign is about getting people into the town; we’ve made posters which are going out to everyone and they’ve had a great response so far.”

Chamber of Commerce president John Emms added: “We need to look at our own consciences.

“We can’t complain when local shops close down if we don’t support them.

“Whilst this initiative is an excellent idea, in the future we would like to see free parking for shoppers to support our local communities.”

Bideford will be hosting a late night shopping event on Tuesday, December 4, to encourage people into the town.

Shops will also be decorating their windows with their finest festive displays.

Bideford mayor Doug Bushby turned out to support the campaign launch on Friday.

He said: “Bideford is built on a community of small, independent shops, and they’re the heart of the town.

“They draw people in and we should do all we can to support them. It’s use it or lose it.”

Mr Bushby added: “The town council are doing what they can to make the town look more attractive.

“We want as many shoppers as possible to think about their purchases before ordering them online.

“Come and check out the town and see what they have to offer.”

In the run up to Christmas, there will be some free parking days for shoppers in Bideford.

Bideford Town Council will provide free parking after 10 am on Sunday, December 2, for the Christmas light switch on event.

There will also be free parking from 10am on Saturday, December 8, 15 and 22 in Bridge Street, The Pill, Pannier Market (Honestone Street), The Manor and The Quay.

On Saturday, December 1, Torridge District Council are providing free parking in Bideford car parks after 10 am until 6 pm, for Small Businress Day.