The Home Office has instructed local authorities to "rigorously enforce Sunday trading legislation" on Christmas Eve. The move follows reports from shopworkers' union USDAW that Woolworths is intending to trade for longer than the prescribed six hours. The union claims to have intercepted a confidential e-mail from Woolworths' headquarters to all branches instructing staff to open from 9am to 5pm on December 24. "Woolworths are claiming that they have special permission from the Home Office' to trade longer than the six hours permitted on a Sunday," said USDAW general secretary Bill Connor. "But to do that, the government would have to change the law." But after Connor issued the statement, Woolworths retail director Ian Morrice categorically denied the allegations, insisting "our stores will not break the law on Christmas Eve". A Home Office spokesman said "no dispensation had been granted to Woolworths or anyone else," but confirmed that local authorities had been warned about the alleged email and told to be especially vigilant over the Christmas period. {{NEWS }}