Donkeys are set to return to an Essex beach after a 20 year absence.

Donkey owner Jayne Johns, from Rayleigh, has been issued a permit to host donkey rides on Martello Bay Beach in Clacton by Tendring Council.

Mrs Johns, who has given up her day job in a pharmacy to run the donkeys, hopes to start the rides as soon as April.

“I did look at other areas nearer to home but I did not get the same response from other authorities as I did from Tendring,” she said.

“The reaction I got was a very positive one and I was made to feel welcome. I am looking forward to making the trip on a regular basis and I will make sure the donkeys get a chance to rest in between.”

Mrs Johns was given a donkey nine years ago by her husband and has kept them as pets every since — and now she’s looking forward to working with them.

“I now have four donkeys licensed to work on the beach and it has all been checked out by animal welfare,” she added.

“They are very sociable animals and they love to be with people. Last year I took them to school fetes and other events and it went very well.”

Donkey rides will be available on Martello Bay beach on weekends, as well as in the school holidays for £2 a go.

Councillor Pierre Oxley from Tendring District Council said: “I remember in my youth when they used to operate donkey rides on an area at the end of the greensward and I am sure that bringing them back to the town will prove a popular move,” he said.

“They are very much a part of the traditional activities of a seaside resort and Mrs Johns has met all the necessary criteria.”

A spokesman for Tendring DC told H&H the main reason a permit for donkey rides had not been issued before was because no one had asked for one.