GRINCH-like thieves raided a Christmas grotto and made off with more than a hundred wooden reindeer.
Chris Bullen, who runs the grotto at Upton Country Park, set up a festive fundraising game featuring the reindeer in the hope of raising £2,000 for Forest Holme Hospice.
The game featured a painted reindeer backdrop with holes for children to aim carrots at. Successful throwers received a toy reindeer as a prize.
However, last weekend, thieves made off with all 125 of the reindeer – which took a severely disabled man six weeks to make, according to Mr Bullen.
He said he was “disgusted” by what had happened.
“Sadly my father passed away last Easter and was cared for by Forest Holme in his last days. It’s a wonderful place and he was very well looked after by the staff.”
He continued: “I decided I wanted to raise £10,000 for the hospice, kicked off with this fundraising game. The goal was to raise £2,000 by Christmas.
“It was going great guns with £400 raised in the first few days. We had a good supply of reindeer, and I really thought we were going to reach our target.
“But on Saturday, I found an empty barn and all the reindeer were gone.”
Mr Bullen, who also owns the miniature rail line at Poole Park, has contacted the police about the incident but is offering his own reward of £250 for anyone who returns the reindeer.
“It’s a shame because we can’t get hold of anymore and it’s put a stop to the fundraising,” he said.
“Christmas is meant to be a time of goodwill, and this was a good thing for all involved.”