People attending a Christmas fare in Derbyshire last night (Thursday, December 22) were stunned when police hauled Father Christmas from his sleigh and slapped him in handcuffs.
Santa and his elves were at the Festive Findern’s Christmas Fayre when the shocking incident took place, reports DerbyshireLive.
It came after reports that Santa was “spotted making off from a local cafe without paying for a haul full of seasonal goodies”, police said.
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The elves watched on helplessly as he was “chased through the village” before being “dragged off his sleigh” and “vigorously searched”.
However, all police were able to find were chocolate gifts intended for “distribution on Christmas Eve”.
Santa then explained to the police that it was a misunderstanding and that he’d been collecting donated food items for needy and vulnerable families in South Derbyshire. He was “released immediately”.
Mercia Police’s Safer Neighbourhood Team later posted on its Facebook page revealing that the arrest had all been a prank.
The spoof nicking was a collaboration between the police, Findern Parish Council, the Rotary Club and Festive Findern.
Followers of the page reacted positively to the comedic moment – but some who witnessed it at the time were left with the impression it was a real arrest.
One reader asked DerbyshireLive: "Any idea what happened with the Santa they arrested in Findern tonight from the sleigh in front of all the kids? The police wouldn't tell us anything."
Officer Bob, from the Mercia Police SNT, said: “We’d been contacted by droves of local people asking us to come along this year and join in the fun – and it wouldn’t truly be Christmas if officers didn’t visit Findern to lock up Santa at this wonderful seasonal event. The occasion has become a firm favourite with our team.”
The police are encouraging residents to gift essential items to the South Derbyshire CVS food bank.
Collection points are available at The Maple Tree Café in Repton and the Co-op in Willington.
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