Historic Preston nativity scene attacked by vandals

Vandals have sparked outrage after targeting an historic nativity scene in Preston city centre.

Friday, 28th December 2018, 1:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:50 am
The Preston nativity crib has been a fixture of Christmas celebrations in Market Square for over 50 years.

The damaged nativity scene in Market Square was discovered on Thursday afternoon by a member of the public.

Val Aiton, 60, had taken her four-year-old grandaughter to the crib after the child had asked to see 'little baby Jesus'.

But when they arrived, Val noticed the side of the plastic display window had been smashed in and statues, including Jesus and Mary, had been overturned.

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The Preston nativity crib has been a fixture of Christmas celebrations in Market Square for over 50 years.

Mrs Aiton said: "The statues were scattered everywhere. It looks like they have put their hands in and pushed the statues over.

"The glass at the side of the crib was all pushed in and the figures were all knocked over onto the straw.

"How do you explain something like that to a four-year-old at Christmas?"

The nativity scene outside the Harris Museum has become a well-loved Christmas tradition since it was first unveiled more than 50 years ago.

The Italian-crafted nativity statues had been knocked down by vandals.

The wooden nativity cabinet graces Market Square every year, with the original Italian-crafted statues still in use.

The vandalism sparked outrage with many people puzzled as to why the nativity scene had been targeted.

Julie Coene is one of many who has made it a family tradition to visit the nativity scene every Christmas.

She said: "I am so upset. I went as a child, I took my daughter, and then my grandchildren. What has been gained by doing this?"

The nativity scene is protected by plastic glass, but vandals had smashed a hole in the display window.

Her friend, Julie Preston added: "It's disgusting. My mum took me when I was little, I took mine when they were little, and this year it was my grandchildren's turn to go have a look.

"I feel it's like a Preston tradition. How dare they wreck it. Why would anyone want to do that?"

Preston City Council, who own the nativity scene, could not be reached for comment.

Police have also been approached for comment.