A man impersonating Santa Claus was arrested this morning at the Bendigo Marketplace.

“He put up a struggle, whacking us with candy canes and trying to fling an elf ear at us,” said arresting constable Con Stable, 28, of Strathdale.

Police became suspicious that the man at the Marketplace was not the real Santa Claus when they noticed Mr Claus was booked to be at the Central Deborah Goldmine for the Santa Tram at the same time the impersonator was at the Marketplace.

“It’s pretty rotten duping kiddies like that,” said Mr Stable. “We know Santa can move real quick, but to be in a duality of time is freaking impossible, and this guy wasn’t capable of the impossible.”

During the struggle, witnesses say the man dresses as Santa asked for the store management, indicating this hoax goes right to the top.

“It was a very impressive display, with a whole fake house, fake tree and fake snow,” said Mr Stable. “It would have taken someone on the inside to make it happen. It really makes me sick.”

The fake Santa was having pictures taken with children and mimicking Santa’s trademark ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’.

“We’re going through the legals now, but it seems this goon is in breach of all kinds of copyright, and it’s possible he lied about his identity to the store management as well as the public,” said Mr Stable.

The Marketplace management was unavailable for comment.