POLICE have issued CCTV images and a video of a group of youths believed to have attacked Christmas lights and the beach hut fair celebrating Christmas in Torquay.
Police say the youths first struck at about 4am on Sunday morning.
They broke lights just hours after the official Christmas Tree lights switch-on outside the Town Hall by Torbay’s oldest resident, 110 year-old Annie Meston.
The hooded vandals also vandalised a beach hut done up like a giant Christmas parcel, by ripping off the paper wrapping, on two consecutive nights.
Torbay police Insp Adrian Leisk said investigators were studying CCTV images: "This is a senseless crime, committed by a group of idiots who had been out drinking on Torquay harbourside on Saturday night until around 3.30am.
"A significant amount of effort has gone in to organising this display for families and local people to enjoy and celebrate Christmas, and to destroy it in this manner shows a complete disregard for their efforts."
Organisers of the Torbay Family Market which is behind the community events to brighten up the Town Hall square over Christmas, are determined not to let the attacks dampen their festive goodwill.
Martin Brook said:"It looks like some youths were a bit over-excited and tried to peek inside the giant parcel. Everybody knows you can’t do that until Christmas day.
“It was just mindless. The CCTV shows a group of youths just before 4am on Sunday morning, and they did it again early today.
“And thanks to Cllr Robert Excell, who was in the Signals during his military career, we soon had the lights fixed. He was a star. He came down and fixed the lights. He’s our Mr Dynamo.”
Mr Excell said: “They had ripped the off and broken all the wires on five or six of the huts, and pulled off half the pelmet.
“We will not be defeated. This area outside the Town Hall is an area for the community and it’s working well.”
Over the weekend a spokesman for the event said: "We are so very disappointed to learn that some Youths last night decided vandalising a few of the Beach Huts and Lights at Castle Circus would be a good idea. This has been done with no thought for others or for the people that have worked so hard to create this Community Event. Those Youths should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves."
Insp Leisk said: "If anyone has any knowledge of who they are, please contact the police quoting Crime Reference FT/13/8416."