THE future of the famous Nevill Street reindeer, which has become such a feature of Abergavenny at Christmas, hangs in the balance after it fell foul to vandals over the weekend.

A team is set to assess the damage later this week and decide if it is too badly damaged to remain in place until Christmas.

Since it last appeared last year, the reindeer has become a firm favourite with residents and visitors alike, with families of all ages posing with it for festival snaps.

Now however its metal frame has been bent out of shape and the wiring to its lights ripped out.

“It is heart-breaking to see the damage not just to the wiring, but to the metal frame that is the skeleton of this incredible light installation,” said a spokesman for Abergavenny Town Council, which has paid for the Christmas centrepiece.

“Over the weekend, it was up-ended and its legs and antlers have been bent out of shape. It also looks as if someone has stamped on its nose.

“The antler on the left side has been damaged where the wires have been stretched, and the tinsel has been pulled off.”

As a result of the damage and the fear that it could now be prone to further attacks, a decision will have to be taken later this week about whether it can remain in place.

“Last year, a deliberate act of vandalism where the wires were cut on the lights, cost just under £500 to be repaired. We have contacted the company we hire this from, for an engineer to assess if it can be fixed and left in place, or if it will have to be removed completely for fear of further vandalism,” said town clerk Sandra Rosser.

For the safety of the reindeer and anyone wishing to have pictures taken on it,it has now been fenced off to try and protect it until the assessment can be carried out.

“Witnesses have said they have see groups climbing all over it, and although we hoped that common sense would prevail and that people would only sit on the saddle provided, it appears this hollow metal framed light installation may have to be removed before anyone is seriously injured because of inappropriate use,” said Ms Rosser.

Unfortunately CCTV images of the area were not available as overgrown trees in St John’s Square obscured the view of the reindeer.

“Another request to cut back trees has gone to MCC as I had hoped this might be done prior to the reindeer being installed as if it had, we might have had a chance of catching who carried out such damage and vandalism,” said Ms Rosser.

Both MCC and Gwent Police have been contacted and are now looking into the situation.

Gwent Police commented that they are making enquiries into the incident and called on anyone with further information, to call them on 101, quoting 2200401950 or direct message on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, you can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.