Oxford Santa sacked for telling kids about US school shootings

The freelance Santa will have to make his way back to Lapland early. Photo: Reuters

A Santa has been suspended from his job in a grotto after he allegedly told children about the US school massacre and that he was not really Father Christmas.

The man, who worked on a freelance basis at Notcutts Garden Centre in Nuneham Courtenay, Oxford, for 10 years, is alleged to have made the remarks to the children of Wendy and Steven Kennett.

They had taken their children Ryan, 10, Amy, seven, and Katie, six, to the centre on Saturday - paying £5.99 for each child to meet Santa.

But Mrs Kennett told the Oxford Mail that Santa started talking about the Sandy Hook School shooting after the children had told him they had been good.

She said he replied: "Well there are bad people in the world and bad things happen, like what happened to those children in America," before Mr Kennett stopped him.

It was then that Santa asked to talk to Ryan alone and after a chat, he ran out crying "Santa told me he is not real, it's just you and dad."

An exterior view of the Garden Centre which was forced to suspend the freelance Father Christmas. Credit: Google Maps

Mrs Kennett said: "I was totally furious. I now had three children in floods of tears."

A Notcutts spokesman confirmed that the family had complained about the remarks.

"This man was a freelancer and he has been suspended from his job for the season," he said.

"He has worked for us for 10 years without any complaint and we will be sitting down with him in the future to discuss the incident.

"At the end of the day the customer is upset. We have apologised for that and we have taken steps and the family have been kept informed."

He added the garden centre had arranged for the family, from Abingdon, to go to London to visit the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland attraction.