Saturday 24 February 2018

Teenage gang pull Santa’s beard and force him to flee grotto

EVERY child knows that you must be on your best behaviour when visiting Santa Claus if you expect to find your stockings filled on Christmas morning.

But such etiquette went unheeded by a group of teenagers who forced a Santa to flee a grotto after they pulled at his beard and stole his glasses.

The Santa was asking children about their wish lists when the teenage gang burst into the grotto during Longton's Christmas lights switch-on last Friday, near Stoke-on-Trent, England.

The Santa left the event shortly after the incident at about 7pm, leaving many children who were yet to pay their visit disappointed.

Volunteers who organised the switch-on said the actions of the “undesirables” would not stop them staging future events.

Richard Cresswell, vice-chairman of the Longton events board, said: “They went into the grotto and pulled at his beard and stole his glasses.

“Something like this won’t put us off. It’s regrettable, because there were still plenty of families around. I just hope it doesn’t put them off coming to Longton.”

Mr Cresswell said police officers chased the gang but were unable to catch them.

Susanne Ruddy, 37, said her two children were disappointed to find that Santa had gone.

“It is disgraceful that children should act this way. Sometimes I wonder just how bad this country gets when even a Father Christmas is left terrified and abused. If I was here I’d have given them a piece of my mind,” she said.

Pete Bell, 41, an IT support worker, said: “When I got here with my daughter I was told the Father Christmas was shaken up by an incident and had to go home.

“It is really sad that an event that really adds a bit of magic for children is hijacked like this by these idiots.

“I hope police have it on CCTV or something and catch them.”

Staffordshire police are investigating the incident.

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