A SANTA’S grotto in Boscombe has been broken into and had £2,000 worth of presents stolen, just a week after it opened.

Burglars broke into the storage unit for the Santa’s Grotto in the Sovereign shopping Centre and made off with hundreds of presents that were supposed to be given to young children.

The grotto, run by Rotary Club volunteers, was officially opened by the Mayor of Bournemouth Susan Phillips last Saturday as part of the Boscombe Christmas Parade, with more than a hundred children meeting Father Christmas.

Yet, with a bit of true Christmas spirit, Santa’s elves as well as members of the local community have rallied around to get as many toys as they can ready for this weekend.

Centre manager Peter Ruscoe said: “On Wednesday, December 4, burglars broke into a storage unit for our Santa’s Grotto and sadly over £2,000 worth of Christmas toys were stolen, which is incredibly disappointing.

“However, due to the great work from the Rotary Club volunteers the grotto will be open this coming weekend as normal.

“The Boscombe public have always supported our grotto which has been running every December since 2007 and has raised over £35,000 over this period for amazing causes and we urge you to support us again this year.”

New toys have been ordered and the grotto and the shopping centre say they have enough to keep going this weekend. The service is run by the Westbourne, Southbourne and Boscombe Rotary Clubs and all money raised goes to local charities such as Bournemouth Foodbank, Wessex Cancer Trust and the Salvation Army Homeless Project.

Over the last 12 years, the money raised from the grotto has been distributed among local causes with the help of local Rotary clubs led by Westbourne Rotary and assistance of the Sovereign Centre.

The grotto will be open as usual from 10am to 5pm today.

A police spokesman said: “Dorset Police was called at 11.25am on Thursday, December 5, 2019, to a report of a burglary at the Santa’s Grotto in the Sovereign Centre.

“The incident occurred between 5pm on Wednesday, December 4, and 10am on Thursday, December 5, 2019.

”It is reported that approximately £2,000-worth of items were stolen.

“An investigation is under way into the report. No arrests have been made.”