VANDALS have struck at Antrim’s showpiece Enchanted Winter Garden.
The Enchanted Garden at Castle Gardens attracts thousands of people in the run up to Christmas but within a day of it re-opening this year, vandals took some of the shine off the glittering event.
The Antrim PSNI Facebook page said: “Folks following on from our appeal for information regarding the incident in the Enchanted Winter Garden it has since been discovered that more damage was caused than first thought.
“Some of the log cabins were entered and confectionery was stolen along with damage being caused to some machinery.
“The value of the damage caused could run into the thousands of pounds and unfortunately this affects the local businesses who run the stalls.
“Again, if anyone has any information please contact police on 101 quoting reference number 713 of 09/12/18. This is thought to have occurred late evening on Saturday 8th December 2018.
“If the people responsible are reading this then I would appeal to you not to ruin everyone else’s Christmas fun by committing senseless acts like this.”
Earlier, the police had appealed for information following damage to a cash till in the Enchanted Winter Garden.
The police said: “It is believed that a number of youths entered the area at approximately 10:30pm on Saturday 8th September 2018 and removed a till from a payment kiosk, damaging it. Thankfully there was no money in the till at the time.
“These actions will undoubtedly cause disruption for staff tomorrow in setting up the Enchanted Winter Garden and we would ask anyone with any information to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 1439 of 8/12/18.”
Flossy Treats, one of the businesses which suffered at the hands of vandals, said on social media: “To say we were devastated at our livelihood thrown everywhere and machine smashed was an understatement but we are back up and running.”
Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Paul Michael said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of this incident over the weekend. Our award-winning Enchanted Winter Garden event is enjoyed by thousands of families from across Northern Ireland every year and I would condemn these individuals whose reckless actions have caused this damage.
“Our traders rely on events such as these to provide an income for their business and anti-social behaviour such as this can have a damaging impact.
“I would like to thank the staff at Antrim Castle Gardens along with the traders who responded so efficiently to ensure no disruption was caused to the event on Sunday.
“Security at the event has been increased as a result of this and I would appeal to anyone who has any information to contact the PSNI.”
The incidents prompted an angry public reaction on social media.
The garden is open until Monday 17 December, 4-9pm.
For more information and ticket information see: http://enchantedwintergarden.com/