A MAN who turned his house into a winter wonderland has been visited by police while he was dressed as Santa Claus.
Mike Denaro transformed his home to raise money for a hospice during the pandemic – but says his Christmas spirit has simply landed him in hot water.
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Police officers confronted Mike Denaro while he was dressed as Santa Claus[/caption]
Mike Denaro transformed his home into a Christmas winter wonderland[/caption]
Mr Denaro decorated his home in Fairman Drive, Hindley, Wigan with thousands of lights, lasers, fake snow and acrylic figures.
Attracting visitors from miles away, Mr Denaro kindly asked people to make a small donation – which he’s collecting for Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
Mr Denaro said he came to an agreement with Wigan council and a local police officer to ensure the gatherings outside his home were Covid safe – and even put Santa footprints on the floor to help with social distancing.
But despite the precautions, the police have continued to visit him several times.
Mr Denaro described the interference as a “nightmare.”
He said: “We’ve had loads of people rocking up but it’s all at safe distances. I think some neighbours a bit further down have reported it and them some other people who’ve seen it online have reported it as well.”
“The council’s Covid team have come out and said they’re happy for it to continue as long as people social distance and a local bobby said pretty much the same thing – that it’s for charity and they weren’t going to be the Grinch by stopping it.”
Mr Denaro decorated his home with thousands of lights, lasers, fake snow and acrylic figures.[/caption]
Mr Denaro came to an agreement with the council to ensure his home was Covid safe – even using Santa footprints to help enforce social distancing[/caption]
On one occasion, Mr Denaro said three police cars turned up in the street while he was dressed as Father Christmas.
A friend filmed the exchange between officers and Mr Denaro on December 12 and posted it on Facebook, where it has been shared hundreds of times.
Mr Denaro said: “It’s madness. Someone’s having a hot chocolate in the street and there’s a guy dressed as a turkey and they send three police cars.”
“It took them 40 minutes to get on the radio and find out that we had already arranged it and they could be doing so much better things with their time.”
“Surely they have better things to do. It’s not a rave, it’s Santa Claus giving out chocolates to kids, who are donating money to Wigan and Leigh Hospice.”
“It’s been a rubbish year for everybody and we’re trying to make it better but GMP seem to be Grinches that want to spoil the fun.”
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “Shortly after 2.35pm on Saturday December 12, police received a report of a planned gathering due to take place later that day on Fairman Drive in Hindley, Wigan.”
“Officers attended the address and advised residents of the importance of adhering to current Government guidelines.”
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Sergeant Wesley Walker, of GMP’s Wigan District, added: “We continue to take a measured approach to any reports of possible breaches of social restrictions.
“Following a report of a planned gathering, three officers attended Fairman Drive and spoke with a number of residents, taking care to explain the guidelines and encourage them to comply with current Government restrictions.”
“There was no enforcement action taken against any persons present and our officers left a short time later after positively engaging with the local residents.”