Girl rings police after Elf on the Shelf panic

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A seven-year-old girl in the US called police in a panic because she mistakenly touched her Elf on a Shelf.

Isabelle LaPeruta from Old Bridge, New Jersey was upset because the story tells children the magic of Christmas is lost if the elf is touched.

In a recording of the conversation, Isabelle can be heard then telling the 911 operator her call was an "accident" and not to send police.

"I was trying to call my dad," she says.

As police must check all 911 calls, officers went to Isabelle's house, where they found her crying.

Her mother, Lynanne LaPeruter, was asleep and woke up to see her daughter trying to send the officer away.

"Isabella apologised. She touched the Elf on the Shelf. She won't call 911 again," the officer told headquarters over the radio.

"She was hysterical crying, she was panicking," said her mother, in an interview with NBC New York.

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Isabelle said the elf fell on the floor when she threw a ball and she had been worried she would get into trouble.

She said Santa Claus "knows" she won't do it again.

"To her, it was an emergency when she touched the elf, and she's going to ruin Christmas, so that was her emergency," said Old Bridge Police Lt Joseph Mandola.

"In her mind, she did right, and it was fine with us."

Elf on the Shelf was first published in the US a decade ago and has since made its way to other countries around the world.

The story describes how Santa Claus sends "scout elves" to homes to watch over events ahead of Christmas.

When a parent buys the book, they also get their own elf to "adopt".

"There's only one rule that you have to follow, so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won't hear all I've seen or I know," the book states.

Each night, while the children are asleep, the elf reports back to the North Pole and returns to a different location in the house in the morning.

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