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Bangor parents angered over risque present from shopping centre Santa

By Rachel Martin

Published 21/12/2015

Ramon from Happy Feet
Ramon from Happy Feet

Santa has been handing out rather odd gifts to children - leaving parents angry and baffled.

Children who visited Father Christmas at Bloomfield Shopping Centre in Bangor were given books which include references to "pecs" and "love god".

One of the books stars loveable rogue Ramon, a cameo character in the hit Warner Bros children's film Happy Feet.

But much to some parents' surprise, the randy penguin told readers: "Why hello. I am Ramon the love god. Check out my pecs!"

One dad said he was left confused by what had happened.

He said he had to think on his feet to change the words to "check out my haircut" as he read the story to his four-year-old daughter in a nearby coffee shop.

The father initially thought the words had been changed as a joke, but had got through the printing stages without being spotted.

Further back in the book another page reads: "I'm now a Carmen-only facility. She is my world entire. What's a stud like me to do?"

Another parent was left embarrassed after their child questioned what a "stud" was after reading it.

Jamie Bill, who manages Bloomfield Shopping Centre, said the centre spends thousands on its Santa's grotto every year.

He said: "We try to offer the best quality experience that we can for the money we have.

"We really wanted to make it a nice Christmas for everybody.

"We wanted to give them a free book, a visit to Santa, a free photo and, of course, we don't want to offend while we're doing it."

Mr Bill added that the books were sourced from a reputable toy supplier and were published by Ladybird.

He said he was surprised that anyone had been offended.

He added that the language in the book was typical of that used by the character in the film which was rated as Universal.

Children were able to visit the store's Santa between 11am and 5pm on Saturdays and 1pm to 6pm on Sundays in the run-up to Christmas. Parents were not charged for the visit or for any of Santa's gifts but were instead offered a chance to make a donation to the charity Helping Hands Trust.

This year several shopping centres across Northern Ireland offered a free Santa's grotto in a bid to appeal to Christmas shoppers with young children.

Ards and North Down councillor Stephen Dunne said the controversy was "disappointing".

But he added: "It's important to remember the true spirit of Christmas is about festive cheer, family and goodwill."

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