Anger as vandals chop down village Christmas tree

December 4, 2017

Thursday’s planned switch-on of the festive illuminations in Bessbrook suffered a setback after vandals smashed lights on the village Christmas tree before attempting to chop it down.

Dozens of residents and families with young children turned out to enjoy the annual occasion but were disappointed when organisers revealed they were unable to switch on the Christmas tree as the lights had been damaged.  It was the following morning before the full extent of the vandalism was discovered and the tree trunk had been sawn almost in half.  It was in such a poor state that Council workers were left with no choice but to remove it altogether as it posed a safety hazard.

Posting on the Bessbrook Community Residents Association Facebook page, a spokesperson slammed those responsible: “Thanks to you mindless vandals it looks like Bessbrook will have no tree this year.  You must be so proud of yourselves, as must your parents,” the post read.

 Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Roisin Mulgrew has described the incident as a “wanton act of destruction”.

“The village Christmas tree had all its lights broken and has been sawn practically the full way through. This is not the first time this has happened, as over the past years the tree has been the focus of deliberate attacks,” she said.

“The Council has had to remove the vandalised tree due to safety concerns. There is a strong possibility that it might not be replaced as many local people feel that those engaged in this wanton act of destruction will attack it again.”

Mrs Mulgrew says she shares the anger and frustration “of all right-minded people at this deliberate attack on a community trying to bring a festive flavour to their village”, and expressed hope that the vandals will be identified and caught.

Ulster Unionist Councillor David Taylor described the vandals as “mindless idiots” and said the Bessbrook community is “extremely disappointed and outraged” at the incident.

“I am saddened that any individuals would carry out such an action in an attempt to dampen community spirits during the Christmas period.  They can only be described as mindless idiots,” he said, and he appealed to anyone with information to contact police.

 I would appeal to anyone with information on the vandalism that occurred to report it to police at the earliest opportunity.”