A 75-year-old ex-firefighter has had his annual 5,000 light charity Christmas display at his Radlett home vandalised by a group of thugs.
Dave Press was sitting down in his office, ready for bed when he heard voices coming from his front garden.
He said: ‘’I looked on my CCTV and saw two girls pick up the reindeer and walk off with it. My instant reaction was to get up and chase them down the street.
‘’So I went to go out and I saw them running down the street whilst shouting a load of abuse at me, but my wife stopped me from running after them because I was in my pyjamas.
‘’When they had ran off they had smashed the reindeer in the street, luckily we used some new lights and he was looking good again.’’
The reindeer has since been replaced and is now tied down to a pole, but the damage could have cost Dave £100 to replace it.
His inspiration in raising money for the charity Bloodwise through his display, initially started after a neighbour lost her son to Leukaemia around 50 years ago.
Last year, Radlett News reported Dave had earned £23,000 for charity since 2003.
He said: ‘’It really upset me because I do this all for charity and the community, I have done it for years. We were all looking forward to the big reveal.
‘’It was going to be the biggest turn on yet. This all nearly ruined it but luckily we didn’t let it.’’
Dave revealed that the CCTV had shown that it was a group of five that had vandalised his property.
He said: ‘’The police have found that there were five of them but there were only two in the footage.
I’m really thankful for everyone in the community that has helped me out this past two weeks.’’
Dave recently announced that this will be his last year of putting up the light, but a group of Radlett residents are continuing his festive legacy.