Express & Star

Watch: CCTV shows heartless thieves steal Christmas decorations from community grotto

This is the moment cold-hearted thieves stole Christmas decorations from a community Christmas grotto.

CCTV caught the thieves in action

CCTV cameras behind Darlaston Town Hall caught two men stealing the decorations from the grounds at about 2.30pm on Sunday.

One of the thieves climbed over the fence and began passing the items to his accomplice, who was on the other side of the fence by the main road, before taking off.

An 8ft-high Father Christmas worth £180, two large bell displays worth £100, a reindeer's face and two large handmade lanterns were among the stolen items.

Staff at Darlaston All Active discovered the thefts as they arrived to open the grotto to visitors.

Project manager Sharon Felton said: "We were opening up for the afternoon for the groups booked to come. When I switched on the lights the place was all ransacked, the tree had toppled over and several items were missing.

"I am feeling more than fed up. I feel for the people who put the effort into making the grotto happen. The volunteers got together to do something nice for the community after the Covid crisis and due to the rising cost of living.

A disgusted Sharon Felton in the grotto area where the decorations were stolen

"They came up with the idea, made the grotto, donated the lights and spent a lot of time making it all happen. It gave them a chance to do something after the lockdown - now some idiots with no morals have marred it.

"I have worked in this community for 15 years. I don't believe the people responsible are from the town. Darlaston is a very close-knit community where residents support activities such as this. We did a community garden project in September and from that it was decided to run a grotto in the garden for the kids this month.

"Due to the pandemic many young children missed out on the experience of going to a grotto and meeting Father Christmas, and this has been the first time for many of them."

Two cars were seen passing by as the men were committing the heartless act.