THE jingling tune of the ice cream van has delighted millions of children for decades.

But they have been getting a frosty reception on Canvey after being accused of causing traffic problems on the island.

Officers at Castle Point Council have written to the owners of Mr Whippy vans operating in the borough to demand they stump up £750 for a street trading licence.

The rules have been in force for two years without a single ice cream van applying for a licence.

But the council is now getting tough with unlicensed sellers after residents of Broomfield Gardens, Canvey, complained that a van had parked across their driveways.

The council also said schools had complained about vans getting in the way of parents collecting their children.

Two ice cream sellers have so far received warnings and they could face fines of up to £1,000 if they are caught trading without a licence.

Walter D’urazzo, who trades as Rossis, has sold ice cream on the streets of Canvey for the last three years.

He believes the council is being heavy-handed and is not applying the rules evenly. Mr D’urazzo, of Lancaster Gardens, Southend, said: “What they are saying about blocking schools and driveways isn’t true, I’ve never caused a problem.

“If you’re going to ask for a street trading licence then it’s OK, but you have to apply it to everyone.

“I’m a respectful man so I will not go to Canvey any more, but I know there are other people who haven’t paid the licence and they are still trading.”

The council can demand street traders pay a licence under provisions in the 1982 Miscellaneous Provisions Act.

However, some authorities, including neighbouring Basildon, choose not to operate the legislation.

Chris Jacobs, head of the Castle Point Council’s licensing department, said he did not previously have the resources to crack down on ice cream sellers flouting the law and only started enforcing the legislation after receiving complaints.

He said three firms were in the process of applying for a licence He added: “We have acted following complaints from residents.

“At the end of this process all ice cream sellers will have to be properly regulated and I think that must be in everyone’s best interest.”