[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 2 December, 2004, 07:20 GMT
Live camera protection for Santa
Children now sit next to Santa, not on his knee
A live camera is being used in Santa's grotto at a shopping centre in Llanelli to protect him from allegations of child abuse.

It is one of a number of measures being taken to save Father Christmas from potential accusations.

The St Elli Centre said without the link they would have to scrap the festive treat altogether.

Manager Gilmour Jones said it was a sign of the times but said parents were supportive of the move.

The magic has gone but without taking precautions we would not have a grotto at all
Gilmour Jones

When the grotto opens for the first time on Thursday morning the camera will film and record every child visiting Santa.

There will be signs warning parents of the camera and they will be able to watch on a monitor.

"We are not doing anything underhand. We have done different things over the years but not because of any incidents, just to give parents peace of mind," said Mr Jones.

"Last year we had a bench inside the grotto to encourage children to sit next to Santa rather than on his knee.

"There is always a photographer in there with him but this year we have also decided to have the camera.

"Usually we frost the windows to the grotto up with snow but this year they will be open so those outside can see everything that is going on inside.

St Elli Centre
The grotto in the St Elli Centre is a converted garden shed

"We will also be encouraging parents to go in with their children.

"It is a sign of the times. We have to take action to protect not only the children but also Santa from allegations.

"There are not many Santa's grottos left - very few I can think of in south Wales.

"The magic has gone but without taking precautions we would not have a grotto at all.

"I have spoken with parents coming to the centre and they think it is a good idea."

The grotto - a converted garden shed - will be in the main square of the centre until Christmas Eve.

Last year, a cabbie from the same town was told by the local council he could not dress up as Santa while on work because he would not look like the photo on his ID badge.

Traditionally Tony James donned a Father Christmas outfit because he said it cheered up his customers but the authority said he could not get behind the wheel with his hat and false beard on.

Santa back with police protection
24 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Cabbies' Santa beards banned
18 Dec 03 |  Wales



News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific