Bristol

Hundreds of gifts stolen from Bristol Santa's grotto

Christmas presents
Image caption Gifts from the community Santa's grotto included children's books, modelling clay and card games

More than 600 Christmas presents for children have been stolen from a community Santa's grotto.

The gifts were being kept in buildings at the bowling green in Eastville Park, Bristol, after Father Christmas was unable to deliver them on Sunday.

High winds cancelled the event so the wrapped presents were being stored while organisers worked out what to do.

Volunteers called police and said the theft overnight on Monday and Tuesday had "knocked them for six".

Friends of Eastville Park had planned a wildlife winter wonderland themed Santa's grotto along with entertainment and crafts for its first Christmas event for children.

Volunteer Chrissy Quinnell, said: "It's really hard to conceive that somebody would take children's presents."

"Hundreds of people were involved in the preparations but we had to cancel the event because of really high winds," said Ms Quinnell. "So the fact the event didn't take place was a bit of a low point for us and then to find this as well.

"We're all pretty flat at the moment."

Along with wrapped gifts - including children's books, modelling clay and card games - thieves also "helped themselves to everything of value" including bottles of mulled wine and catering equipment.

Volunteers said it would take them a while to "bounce back".

Posting on the group's Facebook page, Andrew Gee said the loss of over 600 children's presents was "particularly upsetting".

"We are currently looking at CCTV footage from the car park area in the hope that something might come up," he said.

Police are appealing for anyone who knows where the presents are following the burglary between 16:00 GMT Monday and 10:00 GMT Tuesday to get in touch.

A police spokesman said: "We'd appeal for anyone who saw or heard any suspicious activity around the building to contact us."

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