Seaton’s civic Christmas tree targeted twice

Vandals attack town’s Christmas decorations

SEATON’S civic Christmas tree has suffered hundreds of pounds worth of damage after being attacked twice by vandals over the weekend.

Angry Chamber of Trade officials only put it up on Friday, after spending some �2,000 on the giant spruce and a set of stunning new lights.

Vandals scaled the tree on Saturday night after clambering over a barrier, put up around its base.

Chamber Chairman Marcus Hartnell said: “They wrecked a couple of strings of lights – it was very disheartening.

“We repaired them only to find on Monday morning the tree had been vandalised again.

“The Chamber has spent months planning this and putting in our time free of charge, only for this to happen. The 30ft tree, the biggest we have had for years, cost �200 and that has been damaged as well.

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“We turned the lights on, ahead of the official December 3 town switch-on, because we thought the fact that electricity was going through them would deter any vandals – but that theory went out of the window.

“They knocked out about a third of the lights on Saturday and we replaced them. On Sunday they did the same again.

“We do have some more lights but we have held off putting them up for fear they will be damaged as well. At the moment the tree will be only two thirds illuminated.”

Fellow Chamber members Daniel Bailey and Alex Roeder, who run an interior design company in the town, helped plan the spectacular display and put up the tree.

Said Mr Bailey: “I am totally disappointed. But we want to assure people the late night shopping festival will still be excellent – we are not going to let them spoil it.”

Mr Roeder said: “If people knew how much efforts went into it maybe they would not destroy it. The small minority just ruin it for everyone.”

Mr Hartnell said he hoped CCTV in The Square would help police identify the culprits.

Anyone with information about the attacks on the tree is asked to call police on 08452 777 444 and quote the relevant crime reference number - KN/10/463 for the Saturday damage - and KN/10/464 - for the Sunday.