Belfast Telegraph

The claws are out for Santa as teens attack Carrickfergus mayor

By Lisa Smyth

The spirit of Christmas has come under fire in Carrickerfergus with the mayor being physically attacked during his public appearance as Santa Claus.

The spirit of Christmas has come under fire in Carrickerfergus with the mayor being physically attacked during his public appearance as Santa Claus.

David Hilditch was assaulted by three teenagers after youngsters had turned out to see Santa ahead of the switching on of the Christmas lights.

Mr Hilditch spent over an hour dressed as Santa, but just as he was about to watch the fireworks, he was set upon by thugs, who swore at him and tried to remove his hat and beard.

"At the Christmas light switch on, we had Hagrid and Dumbledore from Harry Potter and I dressed up as Santa," explained Mr Hilditch.

"Santa became very popular with the young children and I spent a long time meeting them all, having my photograph taken with them and wishing everyone a very happy Christmas.

"The fireworks were about to start and I was getting out of my Santa Claus outfit and these three wee bucks, about 15 or 16-years-old, came running over and started pulling my beard and hat, calling me an old fake.

"I was all alone and these boys just took the opportunity to have a go, it was all over very quickly and I didn't get a chance to see who they were unfortunately."

Mr Hilditch was unharmed but expressed his horror that he was singled out because he was dressed as Santa.

"It's terrible you can't even do something to entertain the kids without being attacked and it did put a bit of a dampner on an otherwise very successful night.

"Luckily I didn't get hurt, although I was more concerned that maybe some of the kids might have seen the attack, which would have been very upsetting for them, but fortunately everyone was off watching the fireworks at this stage."

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