Shocking attack on home of Christmas lights champion
THE destructive behaviour of young Emerald locals is pushing three-time Light Up Your Town competition winners, the Ledwys, to stop participating in the future.
Neil Ledwy said they had experienced a lot of drama with children around the area who were damaging Christmas light displays.
"The last couple of nights, we've had all the arches ripped out about four times," Mr Ledwy said.
"When the storm came through, we turned all the lights off for the wet weather. We came out the next morning and my neighbour said all his arches were ripped out, and sure enough ours were ripped out too, but they didn't just rip them out, they pulled all the wires out too.
"We went to our Christmas party and came back and the gum ball machine was pushed over and smashed everywhere, so that doesn't work any more.
"We've pieced it back together as best we can and now we've just had to sit a bucket with the gum balls out there that people can help themselves."
Mr Ledwy said that many houses around the area had been damaged in different ways, and that wasn't what Christmas was about.
"People around the corner have had eggs thrown at their house and decorations knocked off," he said.
"Enough is enough. We bust our arses off from daylight to dark putting up our Christmas lights so everyone can enjoy this time of year and let their young kids create great memories."
The bad experience from this year, may even be enough to dampen Mr Ledwy's spirits and discontinue the tradition next year.
"To be honest, the amount of drama we have been through this time, I think we will probably have a break from it next year," he said.
"We have done it for the last seven or eight years. This year, I have been working the last four weeks straight around the clock.
"Kids that come to our place love turning the gum ball machine and getting their own gum ball, it's all part of the experience, but they can't do that any more.
"It started with my grandmother and my mother and hopefully my kids pass it on, but if it keeps going we're going to put a stop to it."
Officer in charge of Emerald Police, Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane said people should know they shouldn't steal or damage displays.
"It would be nice if people respected other people's property," he said.
"If you see anything suspicious, have any lights damaged or stolen give us a ring on 131444."