An angry Garstang landlady is counting the cost after a Christmas tree, complete with lights, was ripped up from outside the pub door and flung into the nearby canal.
The 6ft tree outside the Church Inn, Bonds Lane, was in place for just a week before it vanished, to be found later floating in the Lancaster canal.
“We know it was in place at 4am last Saturday morning, but it had gone by 9am,” said landlady Kelly Wilkins.
“The tree was on a plinth, fastened to the wall, so it had to be ripped off, leaving part of the lights flex trailing from the bedroom window.”
“One of our regulars came past and said he had seen the tree in the canal.
“My father, Gerald, tried to hook it out of the water with two long poles tied together, but he couldn’t reach.
“He said he would have put it back up in it’s dishevelled state, just to make a point.”
Kelly’s mum Cherry Wilkins, added: “It’s an act of sheer vandalism. Somebody must have seen something, or heard someone out and about at that time in the morning.
“We’d like whoever did it to search their conscience.”
The pair have dismissed the idea of putting up another tree, fearing it may go the same way as the first.
Which means there will be no cheery greeting on the doorstep for the 60 people from Mencap attending a Christmas party organised by Garstang Lions at the Church Inn on December 23.
“I feel sorry for them,” said Kelly. “We have trimmings inside, but they love to see the tree outside with all its lights, welcoming them to the party.
“If we put up another tree it would probably just happen again.
“We have had our share of vandalism. A couple of years ago someone wrecked all the window boxes, and in another incident someone stole some of the letters from the Church Inn sign.
“We were just trying to get into the Christmas spirit, spread a little cheer, but now we feel anything but Christmassy.
“We have told the police, not because we expect them to be able to find whoever did it, but because we feel they should know what has gone on.”
The incident is even more upsetting because it will be Kelly’s last Christmas at the Church Inn.
She is expecting her first baby in March, and the pub lease is up for grabs.
“I’ve been her for six years, but I’m giving up to spend time with my family,” said Kelly.
“I’m planning to stay in the Garstang area, because I love it. I was brought up in Nateby where my mum and dad ran the post office.”
A Garstang police spokesman confirmed the incident had been reported, and asked anyone with information to call 101 and quote log 0780.