Vandals have torn down town centre Christmas tree lights – causing up to £1,000 damage.
A reward has been offered to find the culprits who targeted the tree on Cleveland Street at the bottom of the covered market.
The multi-coloured lights were supplied by Chorley Traders’ Alliance (CTA) to help brighten up the town centre over the festive season and attract shoppers into town.
The attack took place either late on Friday evening or the early hours of Saturday.
And police are studying CCTV footage in an effort to track down the thoughtless offenders.
The lights were only lit up for the first time at Chorley’s traditional Christmas lights switch on the previous Saturday evening, when Coronation Street’s Chesney Brown – played by Sam Aston – performed the ceremony.
The celebrations were a big hit and attracted thousands of people.
Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “They’ve shredded the connectors of the end and left bare wires.
“They have just got hold of the leads and stripped them down.
“If they have damaged the complete set, it could be up to £1,000.
“The reason they seem to be so popular with visitors to the town is because they’re multi-coloured which gives more of a Christmas feel.
“It just gives a feel good factor for shoppers.
“Whoever did this probably thought they were having fun, but there was a lot of disappointed people in the town.
“They were switched on at the lights switch-on and are on 24 hours a day.”
The reward is being offered by the CTA.
Mr Allen, who runs Malcolm’s Musicland, Chapel Street, Chorley, said the lights had already been tampered with on the Wednesday before this latest incident.
He said: “We’ve got 22, 10-metre sets of lights, that are all connected to each other so it surrounds the tree.
“On the Wednesday they pulled on them and just removed the connectors from them.
“In this latest incident they’ve pulled the connectors from the wire.
“They were working at 10pm on the Friday which is the last time the camera operators saw them, and they were off when the market traders came in at 6am the following morning.
“We don’t know the cost of the damage at the moment.
“The police have been informed and are looking at the CCTV.”
Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council said: “Following the success of Chorley’s Christmas lights switch on this year, it is extremely disheartening that, after the council has spent a lot of time and effort getting the town centre looking lovely and festive, a small minority of mindless vandals ruin it for the rest of the community.
“The council will be repairing the damage made to the Christmas tree and fences will be put in place.
“However, I urge people to respect the decorations and look after the fixtures as we put them up to benefit residents and to make the town centre attractive for Christmas shoppers.”
A spokesman for Chorley Police said: “If anyone saw anything suspicious at the time we would ask them to get in touch with us.”
Anyone with information about the incident can ring Mr Allen on 01257 264362, or police on 101.
Or they can contact the Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.