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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 16:53 GMT
Santa back with police protection
Santa generic
Santa is to make a welcome return to the streets of local villages
Father Christmas is to be given police protection to enable him to complete his rounds in towns, it has emerged.

Previous Santa tours in Clackmannanshire were cancelled after the bearded icon was plagued by rock-throwing teenagers.

Two years ago, their actions forced Round Tablers in Alloa to abandon a 40-year-old Christmas tradition in which Santa toured the area on his sleigh.

The popular float was taken off the streets due to the attacks.

Last year his rounds were restricted to indoor appearances at community halls and leisure centres.

Thanks to promised police protection, we have managed to persuade Santa to come back
Alloa Round Table

However Alloa Round Table official Mike Mulraney said on Wednesday that Santa would be back on the road this year under police guard.

Mr Mulraney said: "We had hundreds of calls requests from people across the county calling for him to return to the streets, and thanks to promised police protection, we have managed to persuade Santa to come back.

"Although he will visit every town and village, it will only be the main streets.

"It is very sad, but the police don't have the resources to protect Santa all the way around every street on his old route."

Grotto targeted

Under the old system, Alloa Round Table regularly collected more than 8,000 for local good causes, but Santa became a constant target for young thugs.

One Alloa Round Table Santa Claus told of being in "terror" after more than 40 youths attacked his float with stones as he toured Tullibody, Clackmannanshire.

Fire alarm engineer Andy McGeady, 47, was bombarded with missiles by upwards of 40 teenagers.

He was missed by inches by stones which thudded off a thin protective screen as his mobile grotto was targeted.

He said: "We basically had to run for it; get out of there as fast as we could."

One of his "elves", Douglas Richmond, said stones as big as "a large fist" began to fly.

He said: "We had to kill the lights and music and speed out of the area. We had to get away as fast as we could.

"Someone could have had an eye out."


SEE ALSO:
Santa comes under siege
16 Dec 99 |  Scotland


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