Callous thieves wreck Nativity scene

Carlo Biagioni  with the damaged Nativity scene in the fish market.

Carlo Biagioni with the damaged Nativity scene in the fish market.

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MINDLESS vandals brought a quick end to Christmas after ransacking a Nativity scene.

Alnwick Chamber of Trade (Act) set up the display in the town’s former fish market under the Northumberland Hall to spread the Christian message of the season.

But callous thieves put a sorry end to the celebrations when they smashed a window in the makeshift stable, which was housing the scene, and vandalised the inside, stealing four-foot statues of Mary and Joseph and leaving baby Jesus face down in the hay.

The incident, which is thought to have taken place on Boxing Day or the early hours of December 27, has left chairman of Act, Carlo Biagioni, ‘downbeat’ and upset.

“With all the effort, hard work thought that has gone into it, it’s just awful,” he said.

“I think it is pure badness. Where is the Christmas spirit? We are trying to put good into the town and the community and these mindless vandals make it so hard for everybody else.

“They spoil it for everyone, I just don’t understand. It’s such a shame. They’ve smashed a window, made a mess inside and caused some damage.

“We wanted to add more of a Christian impact to the Christmas celebrations in the town and it was good. We had a lot of children and families stopping there to look at it. It really pulls you down. I don’t know if we will do it again, what’s the point? It just makes you feel so downbeat.”

Carlo is urging anyone who knows the whereabouts of Mary and Joseph, which were loaned to Act by St Paul’s Church, to return them or tell police about anything they might know.

Father Phil Carroll of St Paul’s RC Church, said: “I am sorry that the spirit of Christmas is so obviously missing from some people either in Alnwick or visitors to the town.

“I do hope that anyone with information about the theft will contact the police and I ask whoever has taken the statues to return them to St Paul’s Church, which leant them to the community in good faith.”

Alnwick town and county Coun Gordon Castle said the act was ‘despicable’.

“Who knows how it happened but it is completely inexcusable,” he said. “People who try to do things for the town in such a small way must be completely disheartened.

“I feel very sorry for Carlo and those who put it together. Unfortunately, a very small minority of people do not seem to be able to behave in a reasonable manner. I hope the police catch them as soon as possible.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “We received a report about damage to a Nativity scene in Alnwick and are carrying out further inquiries.”