CHRISTMAS lights commemorating loved ones were stolen from the memory tree in Llandrindod Wells just hours before the town’s big switch-on.

The theft was just one of a series of petty crimes in the town while hundreds of residents were out enjoying the seasonal activities.

As well as the fairy lights, a reindeer was stolen from the memorial garden and items are believed to have been taken from stalls and even a charity taking part in the big event.

But town Mayor Jon Williams had pledged that the community would not let a few individuals spoil Christmas for everyone else.

The first incident came to light an hour and a half before the switch-on on Saturday evening.

Cllr Williams said: “Just before the lights switch-on it was discovered that someone had stolen the fairy lights off the memory tree in the grotto.

“It’s a tree where people can go and leave messages to loved ones who are no longer with us.

“That compounded it really. It wasn’t just an ordinary Christmas tree.”

Residents took to social media in an effort to source some replacement lights in time for the event.

Thankfully Tesco community champion Jayne Griffiths came to the rescue, swiftly delivering new lights that had been donated by the store.

Cllr Williams said: “Jayne saw the messages and was able to get us some new lights. We are really thankful.”

The rest of the evening went without a hitch, with hundreds filling the streets as the town was lit up.

But by Sunday morning, it had become clear that the tree lights were not the only things stolen on what should have been a community-spirited evening.

A reindeer was stolen from the memorial garden.

A reindeer decoration had vanished, the Bracken Trust choir reported two lanterns were nowhere to be found, and a stallholder said two bracelets had been taken from her table during the market.

“The following morning I was going through town and noticed someone had stolen a reindeer from the memorial garden,” said Cllr Williams.

“They had not even unplugged it, the cable had been cut.

“It is so disappointing. We are putting in all this effort only for one or two stupid people to try and spoil it.

“We are not going to let them ruin Christmas for the people of Llandrindod Wells.”