updated 12/20/2006 7:56:46 AM ET 2006-12-20T12:56:46

Santa Claus was forced to swap his traditional red and white hat for protective headgear after children pelted him with mince pies in Scotland.

Santa was hit on the head by pastries thrown from a balcony as he handed out gold chocolate coins at a shopping center in the town of Paisley, near Glasgow, at the weekend.

“Health and safety is paramount,” center manager Andrew MacKinnon said on Wednesday. “We issued him with a yellow hardhat equipped with a pair of reindeer antlers to make it look more festive.”

He said a gang of local “neds,” or yobs, threw the pies before running off. Last year, the center's Father Christmas was set upon by youths calling a him a “fraud and a fake.”

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