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‘The community is devastated’ - Vandals smash up elves in town’s Christmas grotto

PUBLISHED: 12:25 30 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:25 30 December 2019

Damage caused to an elf outside Hingham's Santa's Grotto. Picture: Gaby Maltby

Damage caused to an elf outside Hingham's Santa's Grotto. Picture: Gaby Maltby

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A community has been left angry and devastated after vandals caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to its Santa’s Grotto.

Damage caused to the inside of Hingham's Santa's Grotto. Picture: Gaby MaltbyDamage caused to the inside of Hingham's Santa's Grotto. Picture: Gaby Maltby

Each December, volunteers erect a Santa's Grotto on The Fairland in Hingham.

The grotto forms a key part of the market town's Christmas celebrations and has expanded year on year since it was first started in 2014.

But, on Sunday December 29, members of Hingham's Santa's Grotto Committee woke up to discover the grotto has been targeted by vandals who had smashed the heads of the elves which guard the grotto's entrance and "ransacked" the inside of the cabin leaving litter and causing damage.

Gaby Maltby, chairperson of the town's grotto committee, said she was first made aware of the damage on Sunday morning by a fellow committee member.

Damage caused to the inside of Hingham's Santa's Grotto. Picture: Gaby MaltbyDamage caused to the inside of Hingham's Santa's Grotto. Picture: Gaby Maltby

She said: "It's bad from our point of because some of the elves have been smashed in the back of their head and then inside [the grotto] has also been vandalised.

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"We put it up for the children and the community at Christmas time and everything is done by volunteers, we rely on donations."

Mrs Maltby said she believed the damage caused to the grotto would cost around £250 to repair, a cost that would have to be covered by fundraising, she said: "I was absolutely fuming and angry because somebody has hurt and done damage to the children and the community and why would you want to do something like that.

"I'm just so disappointed and very angry that there [people who would do this].

"The cost is going to be around £250 but it's not that, it's the emotional cost, the community is devastated and they're all angry because they all love the grotto and the children look forward to it [each year].

"It's something so important in this day and age to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, and I think that's what we need to keep."

A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary confirmed officers are investigating reports of criminal damage on The Fairland in Hingham.

Anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area, or anyone with information, should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting crime reference 36/90447/19.


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