A community Christmas tree which aimed to spread joy and provided an opportunity for people to donate to charity has been stripped bare by vandals who tried to steal the tree itself.

The tree, which was raising money for homeless people in Bridport had been targeted by vandals and by Tuesday of this week every decoration had been taken and a sign which directed people to make donations had also disappeared.

Staff at the Dark Bear bar in East Street came up with the idea to place a Christmas tree in the town back in 2020, allowing residents to decorate the tree themselves with baubles and accessories, to spread some Christmas joy.

A sign next to the tree, courtesy of Footeprints, featured a QR code allowing people to donate to Bridport food bank, Cupboard Love.

The tree was positioned outside Waitrose on West Street and residents were encouraged to bring their own decorations and decorate the tree as a community.

However, the bar has now said they are no longer able to keep maintaining the tree after a spate of vandalism led to every decoration and the sign with a QR code being stolen, leaving the tree stripped bare.

Vandals reportedly also attempted to steal the tree itself.

A spokesperson for the bar said: "Sadly we will no longer be able to do the Bridport community Christmas tree due to more vandalism.

"The sign has been stolen, all the decorations are gone and there was an attempt to take the tree too."

The business gave thanks to members of the public who supported the tree and helped to decorate it and donate to the food bank.

The spokesperson added: "Thanks to those that did hang a decoration and donate to the food bank. We would love to keep it going but as you can imagine the little ones are getting upset.

"If you’d like to still help those in need of help this Christmas locally please support the Bridport Round Table and their amazing hamper campaign.

"Also if anyone saw anything please get in touch."

On Wednesday afternoon, some decorations had been replaced after members of the public began adding to the tree again.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Decorations have now reappeared on the Christmas TreeDecorations have now reappeared on the Christmas Tree (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: A few decorations have now reappeared on the treeA few decorations have now reappeared on the tree (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

It is not the first time an attempt has been made to steal the tree.

In 2020, the tree was stolen, with all of the decorations and the sign taken with it.

Bridport Mayor Dave Bolwell said: "It is a great shame that someone has decided to be so petty.

"It is not funny, had very little monetary value if any and basically just spiteful.

"So much of the good work carried out to help our community can be ruined by a minority who just don't seem to care.

"I wonder if those involved really think it enhances their reputations to be known as those who stole the Christmas tree decorations?"