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Vandals who tried to spoil Christmas in Tovil defeated by community spirit

A Christmas tree in a public open space put up and decorated by volunteers was stripped by vandals who struck three times.

Members of the Tovil Achievement Group put up a Christmas tree in Wharf Road, Tovil, near Maidstone – as they have every year for the past four years.

Susan Hogg holds up the vandalised Christmas tree lights
Susan Hogg holds up the vandalised Christmas tree lights

Within three hours the tinsel had been ripped off and stolen.

Undiscouraged, four days later the volunteers added lights to the tree, powered by battery, and had a “switch-on” ceremony.

The very next day, the tree was vandalised with the hanging baubles thrown on the floor and the lighting wire cut in pieces.

Two days later, vandals returned to finish the job, leaving the tree completely naked.

Sue Hogg, one of the TAG volunteers, said: “A lot of people walk past here on their way to and from the footbridge at Tovil.

Why anyone would do this is just beyond me.

“We just wanted to give everyone a bit of festive cheer as they walked past.

“Most of the hanging balls were donated by the community during Covid. They decorated the tree while they walked by.

“We even had a little child last year say to her parent ‘Look mummy, my bauble is on the tree!’

“But sadly they have all gone.

“Why anyone would do this is just beyond me. It’s disgusting.”

The matter has been reported to the police.

A neighbour redecorated the tree
A neighbour redecorated the tree

Fortunately the story ends happily.

Another resident, on learning of the vandalism, went out and redecorated the tree.

Mrs Hogg said: “It just shows that the community will not give in to these vandals who want to spoil Christmas for everyone else.”

If anyone can help police trace the offenders, call 101 and quote the crime reference number 01/0708.

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