DESTROYED: The Christmas tree in the Piazza was destroyed by vandals at the weekend. Photo Erin Smith / Stanthorpe Border Post
DESTROYED: The Christmas tree in the Piazza was destroyed by vandals at the weekend. Photo Erin Smith / Stanthorpe Border Post Erin Smith

Louts ruin decorations

WHILE a group of vandals did not go as far as the Grinch and steal the whole Christmas tree, they managed to steal the star and ruin the tree in the process.

The tree was only purchased by the Southern Downs Regional Council last year, out of the $30,000 budget set aside for new Christmas decorations.

About midnight on Saturday, vandals stood on the fence surrounding the tree, denting it, then continued to scale the tree to remove the star.

In the process, they knocked off numerous decorations and snapped branches.

SDRC acting chief executive officer David Tuxford said the vandalism had left the council disappointed.

"Especially as the Christmas tree brings joy and excitement for the children of the town," he said.

"The damage is fairly severe, with branches bent, decorations broken and most of the lights ripped from the tree."

Mr Tuxford said council staff were assessing the situation and were investigating the option of securing a second tree to install before Christmas.

The area is monitored by CCTV cameras and Stanthorpe Police officer-in-charge Mark Ireland said police were endeavouring to review the CCTV footage.

However, three of the CCTV cameras near the tree were not working on the night the incident occurred.

Mr Tuxford said the council was working to have the cameras fixed.

"The same offenders are believed to be responsible for a trail of nuisance offences along Wallangarra Rd, including hoses strung across roadways and tyres rolled down the street," Snr Sgt Ireland said.

Snr Sgt Ireland asked for any witnesses to the "mindless act" to phone the Stanthorpe police station on 46816400.

The destruction of the Christmas tree was not the only property offence committed during the week.

A Honda water pump was stolen from a rural property at Sims Lane, Applethorpe, sometime during the past week.

And a number of tools have also gone missing from a property on Pozieres Rd.

Snr Sgt Ireland said a group of unknown offenders broke into a home on Archibald St last Friday.

"They cut through a flyscreen and unlocked the door sometime between 8.30am and 9.40am last Friday," he said.

No property was stolen.

The Stanthorpe Cricket Association also fell victim to theft on Friday night, with the trolley which holds the pitch covers being stolen from CF White Oval.

Snr Sgt Ireland said the offender had been identified and charged with stealing.

The trolley was located in bushland.

Police have identified the youths allegedly responsible for the theft of alcohol from a shed on Denham St on Sunday afternoon.

Snr Sgt Ireland said they would be charged in coming days.

A 16-year-old youth will front the Children's Court after being found allegedly possessing marijuana and a smoking utensil on Saturday night.

And a 23-year-old man will front Stanthorpe Magistrates Court after being allegedly found in possession of ice during a police rain on a Roberts Rd property last Monday.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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