OFFICERS have a festive message for the yobs who have vandalised Southport’s Christmas tree last week - ‘we are watching you, and we will prosecute.’
Merseyside Police officers are investigating following two incidents which have occurred at the tree which is situated at the Town Hall Gardens on Lord Street in Southport.
The area has CCTV cameras focused on it and detectives are currently looking at video footage from the vandalism which occurred on Tuesday, December 15 and Friday, December 18.
Local people are being asked to report any damage they spot being caused as it happens to Merseyside Police on 999 while anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Merseyside Police say they will put extra patrols and plain clothes officers into the area in a bid to prevent any further trouble from happening and in a bid to catch any offenders.
Police would like to speak to a man dressed in a bright blue anorak and dark trousers who was spotted on CCTV entering the Town Hall Gardens in Southport Town gardens from opposite the tree from Lord Street at 6.27pm on December 15.
The man then walked through the tree and out towards The Atkinson. He returns and begins to climb the tree by the doorway nearest the Atkinson – cable ties and a few cables are cut at 6.28pm. He then jumps down.
At 6.29pm a blue Ford Fiesta pulls up outside The Pavilion and waits. The man walks back through the tree and then starts to run before getting into the waiting vehicle, which drives away down Eastbank Street.
Police would like to hear from anyone with any information about either the man or the blue Ford Fiesta.
Southport BID, which provides the tree and other Christmas decorations in Southport town centre, asked contractors Illumidex UK Ltd to reinstate the fence and repair the cut light and data cables. The tree was repaired promptly.
The second incident occurred at 11.18pm on Friday night (December 18). A young couple were spotted on CCTV before being joined by a larger group of up to 10 youths. The lights on the tree subsequently stopped and this subsequent vandalism has also been reported to Merseyside Police.
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “Thanks to local businesses in our town, Southport BID is able to provide a Christmas tree and decorations throughout our town centre for everyone to enjoy.
“They are in place to provide a festive atmosphere which will help to encourage people to come and visit the shops, restaurants, cafes and other businesses we have in our town centre.
“They also provide some much needed Christmas cheer for local families who have endured such a difficult year. We are hugely disappointed to see that anyone would want to vandalise Southport’s Christmas tree.
“There are a number of CCTV cameras covering areas including the Town Hall Gardens, Lord Street and Eastbank Street, from a variety of angles and locations. Merseyside Police officers are currently investigating footage which was taken of both of the incidents which occurred this week.
“They will seek to prosecute those cases. I would like to ask anyone with any information to call police immediately on 999 if they see any further incidents happening. I would like to ask local residents and local businesses to be our eyes and ears.
“I would also ask anyone with any information about the two incidents this week to please call Merseyside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”