Santa hat placed on Angel of the North sculpture on Christmas Eve

The Angel of the North wearing a santa hat Credit: Kathryn Burn

A santa hat has been placed on Gateshead’s Angel of the North sculpture a day before Christmas.

The large red hat was noticed atop the famous steel structure by social media users, as many make their way home along the nearby A1 for the festive period.

The hat is believed to have been added in the early hours of Christmas Eve with passers-by stopping to take photos in the early hours of the morning. It is not yet clear who placed it there.

One member of the public, who asked not to be named, said: "It's brilliant!"

"Me and my wife were driving past so we pulled in to take pics. There were about five people there and a police car," he added.

"Not sure how long it will last, will probably be taken down. Humbug!"

The Sir Antony Gormley sculpture was installed in 1998, with celebrations marking its 20th birthday this year.

The 200-tonne steel figure took two days to erect, and despite receiving a mixed reception ahead of its installation it has since been embraced as a symbol of the north of England.

Northumbria Police and Gateshead Council were all unable to comment immediately on the festive gesture, and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said it had not received any calls relating to the statue.