Santa ‘kidnap’ stunt in Eastbourne lands film makers in court

Santa prank SUS-160806-145208001
Santa prank SUS-160806-145208001

A stunt which saw Father Christmas being ‘kidnapped’ in Eastbourne town centre last December has landed a group of professional film makers in court.

Twenty-two-year-old Jamie Rainsley, from Eastbourne, staged the stunt with five colleagues to promote his company True Mobster, which has its own channel on YouTube with more than 320,000 followers and 50 million hits worldwide.

The stunt took place on Friday December 18 when the Coca Cola Christmas Truck came to town as part of a promotional tour.

Two cars pulled up outside Debenhams before Jamie and a friend jumped out and bundled Santa Claus into the back of a BMW.

The stunt had been prearranged with Santa but alarmed shoppers dialled 999 and five police cars raced to the scene.

Jamie and five colleagues were later charged with using threatening or abusive behaviour and were each given a 12-month conditional discharge by magistrates and ordered to pay £100.



Now Jamie has criticised Sussex Police for proceeding with the legal action.

He said, “We are not criminals, we are six young people trying to make careers, and now because of the actions of Sussex Police we have criminal records. That is not fair, that is not justice.

“It was surely clear to everyone it was a stunt.

“It was never our intention to upset or offend anyone, it was just a prank. There were security staff all around because of the Coca Cola Truck but not one of them came towards us.

“Little did we know that people were going to dial 999.”

In March they were called in to the police station for questioning and charged.

Jamie said, “We could not believe it and neither could the magistrates. It was a complete joke, we were only in the court for about 10 minutes. Surely the police have got more serious cases to investigate.

“The magistrates were shocked the case made it that far to court and was not solved at the station because nothing like that had been to court.

“The group of us involved wasn’t aware and had no intention of distressing any of the public - we didn’t think they would react that way.

“We had positive feedback from some people watching our rehearsals before the event,

“At court we all decided to plead guilty due to it being the best outcome for us financially as we couldn’t afford court fees and fines.

“We were all given 12 months conditional discharges as the court saw we were purely out to try and make a YouTube video and have had no previous convictions.”

Video and photos courtesy of Truemobster.

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