Anger after Christmas display in Alnwick is vandalised

Jane Gowland with the broken reindeer. Picture by Ben O'Connell
Jane Gowland with the broken reindeer. Picture by Ben O'Connell

The community has reacted with anger after a well-known Christmas lights display in an Alnwick garden was vandalised last night.

Vandals targeted the festive display at Column Cottage, at the junction of Bondgate Within and Prudhoe Street, opposite the war memorial, knocking items over, pulling plugs out of sockets and breaking a reindeer beyond repair.

The damage this morning. Picture by Ronnie Black

The damage this morning. Picture by Ronnie Black

The display was also targeted earlier this week, on Tuesday night, and the fact that the plugs were pulled from a box means it is clear that the weather was not to blame. Some of the items have disappeared completely, while others were found strewn on the road into the town centre.

Resident Jane Gowland, who creates the display each year, has now repaired the damage as best she can, although some of it has been broken beyond repair.

She told the Gazette: "I was quite upset this morning, to be honest. It's the time it takes to do it all as much as the expense. I did think about taking it all down, but then I decided that I didn't want the so-and-sos to win." However, Jane also said that she was pleased that so many people appreciate the display.

And the news has sparked anger on social media with people queueing up to criticise those responsible. It has also led Caroline Curran to launch a fund-raising page to help pay to replace the damaged items - https://www.gofundme.com/yddh3mdt

The display restored to some of its prior glory. Picture by Ben O'Connell

The display restored to some of its prior glory. Picture by Ben O'Connell

Reporting the damage earlier today, Ronnie Black said on Facebook: 'Well done to the vandals who have wrecked the Xmas light display at Column Cottage. Plugs pulled out of sockets, £199 reindeer snapped, coloured light stakes found along the town and a lot of money lost. Jane is deciding whether just to take them all down. The wind couldnt do this as it cannot open waterproof sockets and carry them along into the town. Some people don't deserve anything.'

And in a letter to the Gazette, Phil Armstrong wrote: 'I write to express my disgust at the wanton vandalism caused to the Christmas display in the gardens of Column Cottage in Alnwick.

'I sincerely hope, that if and when the vandals are caught and brought before a magistrate, that their sentence should include banning them from any licensed premises in the town or surrounding villages and from purchasing alcohol at any supermarket outlet.

'If not my suggestion would be that local landlords and licensees in the area should implement this blanket ban on them personally and afterwards circulate the details to surrounding villages and businesses, to make it virtually impossible for them to purchase alcohol which they clearly cannot control.

'Finally if the Duke of Northumberland could resurrect some stocks in the marketplace I would be delighted to attend on any day of the week and append from each of their ears, as big a Christmas tree decoration as I possibly could find, and then proceed to invite local residents to exact their revenge in whichever way they wished.'