DOZENS of children were left in tears after a “bad Santa” swore at them and ripped off his hat and beard, furious parents have claimed.
The annual Father Christmas Grotto experience in St Ives, Cambs. descended into chaos when smoke machines from a family-friendly rave in the same building set off the fire alarms.
The rave was being held downstairs of the Corn Exchange while the Grotto was above and parents said that while they were evacuating the building Santa started to act “very strangely”.
About 50 children and their parents were left shocked at Santa’s alleged choice words while ripping off his costume.
One mum said: “The smoke machine set the fire alarms off at the venue.
“People were in the process of vacating the building and in came angry Santa swearing using the most vile language, ripping off his hat and beard with steam literally coming from his ears, not too sure why he was so cross?
“He was shouting at people to leave, which is exactly what we were doing. Very strange behaviour.”
One little boy was distraught that Santa had told him and his dad “to get the f*** out”.
The behaviour left parents frantically trying to explain what was wrong with Santa to their children.
The mum added: “My children thankfully didn’t take too much notice. They asked why Santa was being horrible after they heard the crowd outside talking about it.
“My friend’s little boy was upset as his dad was carrying him when Santa told them ‘to get the f*** out’.
“We told our children he wasn’t the real Santa. He was an imposter and will be going on the naughty list.”
The free Santa Grotto event was meant to give children the chance to come and see Santa with his “chief snowman” as well as receive a gift.
Festival Events St Ives (FESt), the group who organised the event, have since apologised.
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A spokeswoman said: “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.
“Santa was upstairs in his grotto an event organised by Festival Events St Ives (FESt, 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 their attempts to ensure all visitors and staff had exited the building and were safe.”
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