A ROAD’S Christmas lights display that is meant to bring the community together has been damaged by vandals.
Families in Samuel Road, Fratton, fondly referred to as ‘Christmas Road’, hold a lights switch-on each year to bring everyone together.
Money was raised for Portsmouth Autistic Support Network and the Fire Fighter’s Charity at the community event on Saturday.
But days later, Ben Thompson, who has put decorations on his house for the last five years, found lights worth £300 ripped out on Monday night.
He said: ‘I thought it was not very bright outside so I went out and had a look.
‘I saw the big strand of blue lights were not switched on. I looked down and saw someone had snapped or cut the wires going into the house. I could not believe it.
‘We do this as a bit of fun and now someone has decided to ruin the lights. It has put a dampener on it all.
‘It brings a lot of pleasure to us and other people. We have people knocking on the door saying they love what we have done.
‘We can’t afford to replace the lights. We are going to have so save up for next year.
‘Our children have said they will save up their pocket money to buy new lights.
‘It is a great community event when we turn the lights on.
‘We had 200 people here.
‘I have a son who is autistic. We can’t go to organised displays because he does not do very well with big crowds.
‘We have people come here with learning difficulties.’
The Christmas lights tradition began 13 years ago when neighbour Jane Standen Woolmer first decorated the outside of her home. There are now a number of families who take part each year.
Some of Jane’s lights have also been ruined.
Ben continued: ‘I don’t know who would do this.
‘I am hoping it was not vindictive.
‘I think the thing is that people should respect others’ property.’
When his wife, Jo, uploaded a picture of a sign the family put up in its front window titled ‘Note to a lowlife’, more than 1,000 people shared the photo on Facebook from as far away as Norway.
The note says: ‘We have a lot of children to visit to see our lights, many of them with special needs.‘When you are sitting at home on Christmas Day, playing on your new PS4, spare a thought for all those disappointed children that won’t see our lights this year.’