Vandals who caused damage to the Christmas tree in Poyntzpass have been accused of “doing a disservice to members of their own community”.
The village’s festive centrepiece was targeted by vandals last Friday - just hours after it was erected by council workers - and again on Saturday night.
One local business owner, who didn’t want to be named, told the Leader: “It only went up on Friday and the lights aren’t even on it yet. They (council staff) usually come back a week or so later and put the lights on. I came in on Saturday morning to open up and I saw that some of the branches had been broken and other smaller ones ripped off and thrown about the place. It happened again on Saturday night as there were more branches lying about the place on Sunday morning.”
The business owner continued: “The council put up the tree and it’s the only thing we get in the village; we don’t get any other lights or decorations so the tree is always the focus of Christmas in the village. There is always an inter-denominational carol service held at the tree the Sunday before Christmas, but this year because Christmas Eve is a Sunday the service will take place the week before.
“The thing was only up a few hours and it’s disappointing that someone would vandalise it. The tree is paid for by ratepayers so we are all paying for it, so it’s not nice that someone would do this.”
A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council said staff would be assessing the tree to check the extent of the damage.
“The council would appeal to those responsible to consider the implications of their actions as they are doing a disservice to members of their own community by ruining the village’s Christmas centrepiece while also wasting council resources. Members of the public are asked to be vigilant and to contact the police should they witness anyone damaging public property,” she added.