THE ORGANISERS of a Christmas grotto experience have issued an apology over a disgruntled Santa Claus who tore off his beard and swore in front of children.
Parents visiting the Father Christmas Grotto at the Corn Exchange in St Ives, Cambridgeshire branded the incident an “absolute disgrace” after the man playing Santa at the festive pop-up event stripped off before embarking on a sweary tirade in front of a group of kids.
The Santa reportedly became enraged after a smoke machine at a children’s disco event that was also happening in the building set off the fire alarm.
According to one shocked onlooker, the disgruntled Father Christmas burst into the room where the disco was happening “ripped his hat and beard off” and shouted “get the f*** out” at the children gathered inside.
Adam Gaynor was present for the sweary, Christmas-tinged, tirade, and soon took to social media to detail the incident in perfect detail.
"The guy dressed as Santa at the Corn Exchange is an absolute disgrace,” he said.
"[The] fire alarm went off due to the smoke machine at the children's rave and everyone was in the process of clearing the room.
"He came changing [sic] in, ripped his hat and beard off in front of 50 odd kids and started shouting and swearing at people to leave.
"You should be ashamed of yourself acting like that in front of children. There is no way he should be allowed near a child."
Helen Brook, another bystander, was similarly shocked.
"Bad language is never called for. He continued his unfortunate choice of words while we were waiting outside."
In the wake of the social media storm, FESt St Ives, the organisation behind the grotto experience, has issued an apology over this bad Santa’s antics.
"Last Sunday during a family rave event (not a FESt event) in the Corn Exchange, St Ives, the fire alarms were activated by smoke in the Charter Hall,” it says.
"Santa was upstairs in his grotto, an event organised by Festival Events St Ives (a voluntary organisation) and immediately assisted in the evacuation of the building.
"FESt wish to apologise for any offence or distress caused to parents and children by the attempts to ensure all visitors and staff had exited the building and were safe."