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The season of ill-will?

PUBLISHED: 18:00 23 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 March 2010

CHRISTMAS in a Suffolk town is cancelled after a source close to Santa confirmed that yobs who pelted him with eggs won't be getting any presents.

It was far from the season of goodwill in Poplar Hill, Stowmarket, as one of Santa's helpers was pelted with rocks, eggs and a beer can on a collection visit organised by the Stowmarket Lions Club.

CHRISTMAS in a Suffolk town is cancelled after a source close to Santa confirmed that yobs who pelted him with eggs won't be getting any presents.

It was far from the season of goodwill in Poplar Hill, Stowmarket, as one of Santa's helpers was pelted with rocks, eggs and a beer can on a collection visit organised by the Stowmarket Lions Club.

The victim, Bacton man Ernie Pearce, has taken revenge by forwarding on the names of the thugs to Santa's naughty boys lists.

Mr Pearce fumed: "I certainly wouldn't recommend climbing down their chimneys on Christmas Eve."

The Stowmarket Father Christmas has been parading the streets of the town for more than 20 years without incident – and organisers were left stunned after yobs targeted the fundraising scheme for the first time.

Stowmarket man Jonathan French, who is responsible for the Lions' sleigh trips every year, said that four youths, aged around 15, hurled eggs and stones at the Santa sleigh.

When collectors tried to train their torches on the culprits, they 'mooned' at the procession during the incident on December 12.

Santa has vowed a peculiarly North Pole retribution if it happens again, according to Mr Pearce by saying: "I'll send the elves after them.

"They need some discipline, that's what's wrong with them.

"I didn't know much about it at the time, the music was blaring and I was waving at the children.

"Then all the other guys came running over and said we'd been pelted with stones and eggs. I think it's disgusting. You give up your time to help others and this is what happens.

"It won't put me off. I've been doing this for three years, I go out every night for a fortnight and every Sunday afternoon and I'll keep on going."

The Santa sled has collected nearly £3,000 for local causes on its trek round Stowmarket streets.

Police said the stone-throwing was part of an ongoing problem in the area caused by a small gang of local youths.

After a number of complaints from elderly residents who claim they are prisoners in their own homes, police have said they will patrol the area nightly.

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