Vandals destroy Santa’s grotto raising funds for sick kids

Police are investigating the 'disappointing and malicious act' at a Christmas attraction in Fife.

Vandals destroy Santa’s grotto raising funds for sick kids Paula BellPaula Bell

Vandals have destroyed a Santa’s grotto that was set up to raise money for sick children.

The Christmas attraction was targeted in Leven, Fife, on Monday.

Paula Bell, who set up the grotto, said she burst into tears upon discovering the damage after returning home from Christmas shopping.

She said: “When I opened the grotto and looked inside, everything was destroyed.

“The lights were cut, tinsel was ripped down, the fireplace was damaged, ornaments were smashed and all the candy canes and sweets had been stolen.

“I was absolutely devastated. It had cost hundreds of pounds to organise it all and loads of work to get everything in place.”

“I opened the grotto a few weeks ago, around mid-November, because I am obsessed with Christmas.

“Obviously, there are no grottos this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic so I decided to open it up to the public, as a way of raising funds for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.”

Paula posted photos of the damage to the grotto on social media and has since been amazed at the response of the local community, with people coming forward to donate parcels and decorations.

“The response from the local community has been overwhelming – not in a million years did I expect such support,” she said.

“Nobody will spoil this for me. I was up until 2am this morning thinking about it all but we are good to reopen the grotto again tonight.

In the first few weeks, there were so many babies coming along – it’s their first Christmas and their first chance to see Santa. I’ve basically just spent the last few weeks crying.”

Police are investigating the act of vandalism.

Inspector Paul Gillespie, from Leven Police Station, said: “Officers are carrying out enquiries after a Santa grotto was vandalised in the Linnwood Drive area on Monday, 30 November.

“This was a truly disappointing and malicious act, intentionally trying to spoil the festive period for families in the local area.

“Enquiries are ongoing and we’d ask anyone with information to contact police on 101, quoting incident 2144 of 30 November.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, if you wish to remain anonymous.”

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