A group of rogue Santas has raised the ire of Bendigo residents, as well as a few chuckles, after trying to scale the large Christmas tree in Rosalind Park.
John Crowe spotted the Father Christmas look-alikes from a nearby balcony on Saturday evening.
“We were having drinks on a balcony close by and this group of young folk came past,” he said.
“It looked all innocent at the start, they were just taking photos, but then they started trying to climb the tree.
“One bloke got two-thirds of the way up then slid down, doing damage to the tree on the way down.
“They disappeared up the creek once they realised they had been doing damage to the tree.”
Mr Crowe said the men’s behaviour was nothing but a “public nuisance”.
“You can go out and have fun, but this amounts to vandalism,” he said.
Sergeant Mark Holloway said police had received a complaint from a member of the public about 8.50pm saying that a number of males dressed as Santa were damaging the Christmas tree.
“Police attended a short time later and several people dressed as Santa were spoken to nearby,” he said.
“There was no visible evidence of damage at that time and the people spoken to denied any knowledge of the tree being damaged or of them climbing the tree.”
Sergeant Holloway said that because of the denials, and lack of evidence at the time, the matter was not taken any further.
But yesterday, when photos of the prank surfaced, he labelled the group’s actions a “deliberate act of stupidity”
“It puts themselves and others at risk,” he said.
“It’s reckless and unwarranted behaviour.
“It could have easily turned sad for them, but damaging the tree makes it disappointing for the whole community.”