An intrepid youngster provided more comic relief than charity drive organisers had been bargaining for at the weekend.
The boy, believed to be around three years old, opened the door of an Alfa Romeo that had been filled with red play pool balls for a ‘Guess how many balls are in the car’ competition.
Organisers had unwittingly left the door unlocked, causing hundreds of balls for the Red Nose Day campaign to flood onto the floor of St John’s Shopping Centre in Perth at around 2pm on Saturday afternoon.
Crowds gathered and cheered the farcical scene as several of the centre’s security team battled to gather up the balls, while many young children were seen making off with a few.
Siobhan McConnell, the shopping centre manager, said: “This was a bit more comic relief than we had originally planned.
“The car battery was disconnected to comply with health and safety requirements. It wasn’t until the car had been filled with balls that we discovered that the passenger’s door hadn’t been locked.
“By that time, the lever to open the bonnet and reconnect the battery was buried deep in the car under all the play pool balls so the decision was made to tape up the door handle to secure it. We didn’t think for one minute that anyone would try to open the car – but then children can never fail to surprise.”
“It was fairly chaotic there for a while, but our security team did an excellent job of retrieving all the balls and we now have the car cordoned off so the incident cannot recur until we can resolve the situation with the door locking system.”
The youngster, who flooded the centre with balls, has not been traced yet.
Organisers confirmed the competition would still be going ahead this Friday.