'Where has Father Christmas gone?' - Smashed-up Santa Claus angers villagers
PUBLISHED: 10:47 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 23 December 2019
A life-size model of Santa Claus that had been placed on a bicycle chained to a bus-stop has been smashed up, provoking anger in a village.
The Father Christmas replica had been installed on a bike on Bracon Road in Belton on December 16 - but was there for only two days before it was pulled from the bike, thrown on the path and vandalised.
On Wednesday morning (December 18) parents taking their children to the nearby Moorlands Primary Academy were shocked to see the Santa had been knocked off the bike, his costume ripped apart and his arm torn off.
The Scarecrow-like model was made using a wooden frame dressed with the traditional costume filled with stuffing and a mask with a beard.
Its maker, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: "We just wanted to bring some festive cheer to the village and surprise the kids. Unfortunately he only lasted two nights. We are so disappointed it got destroyed."
Some residents said the installation had been intact the previous night, up until approximately 1am.
When the model had first appeared it delighted residents, with one woman saying, "I've been looking forward to the Belton Christmas bike. I knew the wonderful Beltonians wouldn't let me down."
But the happiness soon turned to anger after news of the model's fate spread through the village.
On a Belton community Facebook page, one man said: "Cannot believe some one has done this to Father Christmas on Bracon Road. Says a lot about small minority who want to upset everyone else."
Another said: "Such a lovely thing in the village for the kids and some awful person has to spoil it. Shame on you."
A mother said: "My little girl was so upset Santa wasn't there today. Had to tell he went in cause it was cold for a cuppa."
Another mum said: "This is awful. I promised my little boy we'd go and see him after nursery today. What is wrong with some people?"
The vandalism is not the first time this year a bicycle-related incident has excited emotions in Belton.
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During the summer, a number of bikes chained to lampposts became the talk of the village.