Three Pukekohe children have placed themselves firmly on Santa Claus' naughty list after they stole his wallet on Tuesday.
The trio, described as Maori aged between 10-12, had been hanging around Santa in the Pukekohe Town Square.
They had been talking to him before committing the crime and even informed him of the school they attended and the iwi they belong to.
''They were getting as close as possible and were trying to look in my bag and I had already given them several lollies,'' Santa said. ''They kept saying all they wanted for Christmas was money.''
As Santa was having photos taken with other children, they reached into his bag and stole his wallet.
''They kept me busy, I did not see it go and I did not see his hand in the bag,'' he said. ''They were quite professional really.''
His wallet contained $50 cash but it was replacing things like his sleigh licence that he found most frustrating.
The children are still on the run but Pukekohe Police said if caught, in lieu of presents from Santa they would be gifted a trip to Youth Aid or a Family Group Conference.
Santa has been taking time out of his busy schedule to travel from the North Pole to walk the streets of Franklin for 15 years and said this has never happened to him before.
But it did not stop him coming back.
''There are an awful lot of nice people in Pukekohe,'' he said. ''If I can bring a smile to one face a day then I have achieved something.''
With huge smile on his face, he was back in Pukekohe the very next day and even turned up earlier than expected.
He said he loved the festive spirit and was there not only for the children but the adults.He is continuing to keep an eye out for which children were naughty or nice but there will be at least three households he won't be visiting this Christmas.
- © Fairfax NZ News