A town’s Christmas crib has been removed after it was “badly vandalised” after being blessed at last Friday night’s official Christmas lights switch-on.

Heads were smashed off figures and the roof of the Bethlehem Chapel Court feature “heavily damaged”, in what Blaenavon Town Council called an “act of wanton vandalism”.

Police have since revealed that a 17-year-old from the Cwmbran area has been interviewd under caution in relation to an offence of criminal damage after voluntarily attending a police station.

Inspector Aled George said: “Work is ongoing to identify another person who may be able to assist our enquiries.”

Families came together for the lights switch on and carol service on Friday followed by the Christmas market on Saturday, but the crib, which has been part of town festivities for years, was found wrecked beyond repair after the weekend.

Town mayor Cllr Liam Cowles said: “We had a lovely carol service and lights switch-on on Friday, followed by a hugely successful Christmas market on Saturday.

“This act of wanton vandalism has cast a gloom over the council’s Christmas preparations and spoiled the atmosphere for many residents.

“We’ve reported the incident to Gwent Police and are very hopeful of them finding whoever is responsible.

“We’d ask any residents who may have witnessed it, or have any information on who the perpetrators might be, to tell the police.

“We live in a mostly kind community – we can’t have the anti-social minority spoiling things for the majority of law-abiding people.”

Angry residents took to social media to condemn the culprits, Jane Davies calling it “absolutely disgusting”.

“Nothing like this has ever happened. What the hell is wrong with them, it’s so upsetting,” she said.

Heather Cox added: “Absolutely heart-breaking. Why would someone do this?”

And Claire Higgins posted: “This is a really horrible act of destruction by complete idiots. Why on earth someone could take pleasure in destroying something that has gives decades of pleasure to thousands of people is beyond me.”

“Words evade me. Shocking!” stormed Jane Rawlings.

And Tasman Heal posted: “We had such a lovely night on Friday and now this. Surely something needs to be done in this town.”

Robert Evans added: “I was so very saddened to see the mindless damage that’s been done to the crib.

“In Blaenavon we have been lucky to have a town council who try to supply some Christmas spirit to the people with Christmas lights and the crib.

“Whatever does this destruction achieve?”

Anyone with information about the damage including CCTV or dashcam footage is asked to call Gwent Police, quoting 2100417409.

Meanwhile, problems with ongoing traffic flow problem in Brynmawr saw the fair and attractions have to be cancelled at last Thursday night’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Santa was still welcomed by hundreds of townspeople, did a short sleigh run and promised to be back in the coming days for his normal festive street run.