A CARETAKER who played the part of Bolton’s Santa Claus for 30 years has been found dead at the school where he worked.

Steven Corns was found at Haslam Park Primary School, in Wigan Road, by police in the early hours of Saturday.

A police spokesman said officers went to the school after receiving a “concern for welfare call” at 11.50pm, on Friday.

When they arrived, officers found a man in his 50s hanged.

The spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Corns’ death and the incident would be passed to Bolton Coroner’s Court for an inquest.

Mr Corns was well known in the community and for three decades had donned a Santa suit and visited schools across the borough in the run-up to Christmas.

Last Christmas, Mr Corns was the resident Santa at Barton Grange Garden Centre in Wigan Road, Hunger Hill.

The year before, 58-year-old Mr Corns had been left devastated when he only received one invitation to act as Santa Claus at a primary school.

But after an article in The Bolton News, he was inundated with offers to play Santa Claus in 2012 and, at the time, said it meant Christmas “had that little sparkle again”.

Mr Corns either played Santa for free or donated money he made to the Destitute Animal Shelter in Northolt Drive, Bolton.

He was also a regular contributor to The Bolton News’ letters page and had a keen interest in Bolton and the community.

Mr Corns lived with his wife, Margaret, at their home in Almond Street, Astley Bridge.

She is being comforted by relatives.

Mya Bradbury, headteacher at Haslam Park Primary School, said: “I can confirm Steven Corns, our caretaker, passed away during the half-term break.

“Steven had worked at Haslam Park School for several years and was a valued member of the community.

“Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this sad time. We at Haslam Park School will all miss Steven.”

Children and their parents were informed about Mr Corns’ death yesterday.

Nick Thompson, general manager at Barton Grange Garden Centre, said: “Steven worked for Barton Grange last Christmas. He did a great job and was extremely popular with the children and staff.

“We are shocked at the news and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”