Tree culprits urged to help redecorate
THEY probably thought it would be a fun night out with mates, but one group's Saturday session wound up with the town in a fury.
Stanthorpe residents woke on Sunday to find their Christmas tree looking worse for wear, but it wasn't long before one of the people involved identified themselves.
Isaac Hartley-Simpson, owned up to causing the damage on a Facebook community page.
"I'd like to make a formal apology for my actions,” he said.
"I really am sorry. I'm part of this town as well and I don't like seeing things get damaged. I chose to make this silly decision, so I'm sorry Stanthorpe I hope you can forgive me for my actions.”
STANTHORPE and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce president John Bylicki said he was appalled at the damage.
With Christmas just days away and the town scrambling to get back some of its festive glory, Mr Bylicki urged those responsible to help redecorate the main street.
"It's a huge disappointment given that it brings so much joy... to the community,” he said.
"To take that away for something which, at the end of the day, was quite stupid, it's sort of senseless.
"At the same time we understand that sometimes these things happen.”
He asked those responsible for the damage to pitch in and help to make Stanthorpe shine again.
"If they want to make up for that... do a bit of work in brightening the town up.
"If you feel like we do, that's it's a shame, it shouldn't have happened, call in to Maddies and put your hand up and help us.”
Stanthorpe police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said it was disappointing to see this happen again, after damage to another Christmas tree at Stanthorpe's piazza in 2014.
He said the people involved in this weekend's incident left a nearby hotel, before taking their party to the tree, which sits outside Stanthorpe Post Office in Maryland St.
"The damage was observed by police early Sunday morning, the four metre decorated Christmas tree... being totally destroyed,” he said.
Snr Sgt Ireland confirmed a man, 19, had been charged with wilful damage and a woman, 24, was expected to be charged.
He said it was anticipated that others would also face court once identified.
A council spokeswoman said the tree was dismantled yesterday, before a full assessment of the damage.
She said temporary repairs meant the tree could be reinstalled yesterday and the council was seeking a quote for permanent repairs.
The 19-year-old is due to face Stanthorpe Magistrates Court on January 25.