Forget Rudolph - Santa’s got trike power!

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WHO needs a red-nosed reindeer when you can arrive in this sort of style.

Santa took up residence at HMS Trincomalee, in Hartlepool, but he ditched his usual sleigh ride to get there.

Instead, he revved up on the back of a three-wheeled trike – and the crowds loved it.

Shoppers waved and cheered as Santa and Mary Christmas rolled through Hartlepool town centre before making their way to HMS Trincomalee to meet the children.

HMS Trincomalee Trust general manager David McKnight said: “Unlike last year, with no snow on the ground, it took all the ingenuity of the team at HMS Trincomalee to come up with something eye-catching to use instead of the traditional snow sleigh.

“We called for help from a local chauffeur tours company called North of England Trike Tours and pressed their red trike into service to get Santa to the ship on time.”

Mary Christmas told the Hartlepool Mail: “Santa and I know of the warmth and friendliness of Hartlepool people, but this welcome exceeded our expectations by far.”

Santa also delivered a present with a difference to the ship – a replica 18lb long gun which is one of only two of its type ever created and the only surviving apprentice-made model from the days of Trincomalee’s restoration.

Mr McKnight said: “It will be on public display on board from this week.”

Santa is now in residence at the grotto at the Historic Quay and children can visit him with an accompanying adult between 2pm and 4pm each day up to Christmas, including Christmas Eve.

The cost of admission to the grotto is £4 per child including a present.

For more details, contact (01429) 223193.