A Santa was attacked by a group of youths as he took a break from his festive role at a grotto in Stoke, it has been reported.
Grabbing at his fake white beard and smashing his glasses, the teens then sped off on bikes.
The incident occurred as the Christmas lights were switched on in the town of Longton. The grotto was left without a Santa as the victim left the scene shortly after the attack, to repair his broken spectacles. Police officers tried to chase after the gang but were unable to catch them.
The Santa did not want to press charges and said he "wants to put the whole event behind him".
Vice-chairman of the Longton events board Richard Cresswell said:
"Something like this won't put us off. It's regrettable, because there were still plenty of families around
Parents expressed disgust at the event, after children were unable to visit the jovial Christmas figure during the switch-on.
Susanne Ruddy, 37, who did not witness the incident, told the Mail:
"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."
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more