THE biggest gathering of Santas the world has ever seen ended up in a mass brawl.
Police used CS spray and drew their batons to break up trouble involving up to 30 people following the world record-breaking Santa fun run in Newtown.
More than 4,200 runners donned their Father Christmas suits to raise thousands for charity.
But just a few hours after the event, it was alleged that some of the Santas had drunk too much alcohol.
Five were arrested for alleged public order offences after the festive fight in the Mid Wales town.
Four officers suffered minor injuries during the scuffle and a total of eight were used to break up the disturbance.
Pc Gareth Slaymaker confirmed many of those involved in the alleged brawl were still wearing their Santa outfits
He said, "This is the sort of behaviour that gives a well-organised event a bad name.
"Behaviour like this justifies our reluctance to extend the licensing hours for public houses and bars for this type of event."
The fun run set the world record for the largest gathering of Santas in one place.
The Guinness Book of Records demands that all the Santas are wearing the full regalia of red costume and hat, white beard and black belt.
The original record of 3,200 was set at last year's event. But this year's smashed it by more than 1,000 extra runners.
Santa fun run organiser Dougie Bancroft said, "The trouble happened seven hours after the Santa Run and I understand some people involved were dressed as Santa.
"But I'm not sure if they actually took part in the race.
"But if we find that people connected with the run, be it marshals, stewards or anyone else, we will not tolerate them and they will not be involved in the race next year.
"We don't want anything to tarnish the reputation of the event or the charities which benefit from the Santa Run. We support the police in their action.
"We would like to point out that they are saddened to have the Santa Run bought to the public's attention in this way, and not for all the good reasons of the support it has given to all the charities, organisations, companies and police over the past four years.
"We believe if any individuals are behaving badly on the day during the Santa Run the Police should act straight away and they will be banned from taking part."
More than £80,000 was raised last year and shared between 200 charities.
The five men arrested were released on bail while Dyfed Powys Police continue their inquiries.
A number of other Santas have been interviewed about their involvement in the incident in the town's Severn Street on Sunday.
Young mother Emma Jones, 25, from Brecon, said, "We went along to watch the Santa run.
"It was great fun to watch a sea of red and white jogging around the town.
"We went to get my two young children into the Christmas spirit and they want to take part in next year's run.
"But they won't be going if it turns into a drunken brawl.
"You could see that some of the older male Santas were heading for the pub straight after the race.
"It is such a pity that a few of the Santas had too much Christmas spirit and spoiled it for other people there."
There were fears before the event that it could turn into a Christmas beer festival.
But Mick Bates, the Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, who took part in the run, denied that the annual run was becoming an excuse for a booze-up.
He said, "More than 200 charities will benefit from this year's run and the organisers do a wonderful job planning the event.
"The problem with excessive drinking is not the responsibility of the Santa run but of pub landlords and individuals."