VANDALS forced Dewsbury town centre to be without a nativity crib this Christmas.
The illuminated feature was so badly damaged by yobs last year it was not fit to be put up again for 2011.
But town centre manager Andrew Sloman has pledged to do all he can to restore the decoration for 2012. He said if the model can be repaired it will be back in its traditional place outside the town hall next yuletide.
The absence of the crib has not gone down well with townspeople.
The Rev Canon Kevin Partington of Dewsbury Minster said it was ‘a poor do’.
He said he had costed out a new crib display for Dewsbury Area Committee a couple of years ago. “And it was not cheap,” he said. “The committee requested it after the crib had been missing from the illuminations for a few years. But we got a new one and last year we sang carols round it.
“It is certainly something which should be in place.”
Sally Speight of the United Reformed Church opposite the town hall said people had remarked on the crib’s absence.
“I thought Dewsbury must be cutting back,” she said. “We have a board with nativity figures which we put on our front steps when the church is open.
“But generally, the lights are awful when you think what it used to be like.”
Reporter reader Janet Ellam of Thornhill thinks this year’s illuminations are ‘disgusting’ and said: “Many people are missing the crib, with children asking where it is.”
Mr Sloman said the crib was vandalised several times last year.
“When contractors came to put it up it was not in a fit state to be used,” he said. “It is sad vandals have done this. We certainly want it to be repaired for next year’s lights and it is a real shame the crib is missing in 2011.
“I think the workmen didn’t realise how badly it had been damaged when it was stored away. We will do our very best to bring it back in 2012.”