“IT’S disgusting” – this was the reaction of a frustrated town councillor after vandals were suspected of hacking down a Christmas tree he helped fund on Barton clifftop.
The £400 spruce was discovered lying on the green off Marine Drive on Christmas Eve morning having been snapped about a quarter of the way up.
Cllr Dean Samber paid for the tree through his new Raise the Roots greengrocers in New Milton, after fellow councillors on the town’s amenities committee approved its installation. It was also funded by Shamrock Care Services.
Cllr Samber initially thought it had been blown over by strong winds during the night, but he later saw pictures on Facebook which seemed to show it had been deliberately targeted.
“I think it’s just disgusting that anyone could think to do such a thing in such difficult circumstances,” he told the A&T.
“It was my idea to have the tree there to try and breathe some spirit into the community in difficult times. It was agreed by the amenities committee and funded by my business.”
Cllr Samber said he intended to report the matter to police as suspected criminal damage.
“I think the word is probably ‘disappointed’,” he continued.
“I’m disappointed that someone could do this when we have all had such a difficult year and the purpose of the tree is to try and bring some festive spirit to the community of Barton.”
A local good Samaritan seemed to have attempted to fix the tree later to keep it upright with supports
Images of the cut-down tree were initially posted on Facebook by a man who said he had put it back up.
Cllr Samber added: “I haven’t been back to see it, but it seemed to be re-erected when I left so it seems someone has done a very good job with that.”
Residents took to the comments to share their anger that it had been damaged on Christmas Eve.
One wrote: “That’s so sad. Why would anyone do that? It’s hard this year as it is… why go out of your way to saw a Christmas tree down?”