Santa
Thousands of people dressed in Santa Claus costume gather at Times Square during the annual SantaCon celebration in New York.Reuters

A robber dressed as Father Christmas who stole an undisclosed amount of money from a San Francisco bank escaped by blending into a crowd of other Santas enjoying the Santacon gathering.

In the afternoon of the festive occasion, the red-robed robber - described by police as a 5ft11 white man - passed a note to a teller at a branch of Wells Fargo Bank which demanded money and claimed he was in possession of a gun.

The teller proceeded to hand over a sack of money to the festive perpetrator before he escaped by mingling with other Santas gathered in the street.

"Any other day, Santa would have stood out," a police spokeswoman said. "But that day, Santa was everywhere."

Police have CCTV of the robbery but could only issue a limited description of the robber due to the false white beard covering his face.

Santacon began in San Francisco in 1994 and events have spread across the world with big gatherings in New York City and London.