You'd expect there to be plenty of festive spirit in action at this time of year, but this was not the case in San Leandro near San Francisco this week, when children's Christmas fancy dress was stolen.

In his column for the San Francisco Chronicle, priest Jayson Landeza said he had been looking forward to hosting a nativity play put on by the youngsters of St Felicitas Elementary School at St Felicitas Catholic Church.

However, he had just performed mass when principal Rodney Pierre-Antoine came running over to say his car had been broken into.

The culprit had made off with six shepherd costumes, four angels and a Mary and Joseph outfit, resulting in the school having to cobble together some more at the very last minute.

Jayson criticised the thief, but admitted he was probably quite disappointed when he realised what was in the bag.

Perhaps if the robber is ever caught, he could be put into Grinch fancy dress and pelted with rotten fruit by the schoolchildren whose play he spoiled?