Reward offered after Monmouthshire nativity scene destroyed

Media caption,
Nativity petrol bomber: Reward offer to catch Monmouthshire culprit

A £2,500 reward has been offered after a nativity scene was petrol-bombed on Christmas Eve.

The scene in Raglan, Monmouthshire, had been installed in a bus shelter for families to enjoy over Christmas.

The fire destroyed statues of a shepherd, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus - with only the three wise men surviving as they stood outside the shelter.

Miguel Santiago, of the Beaufort Hotel which funded the £10,000 scene, said the attack was "really disappointing".

"I was in the hotel when I saw the fire and I went into panic mode," he said.

"It was about 21:45 on Christmas Eve when it all happened and I ended up using nine extinguishers to put it out."

Image source, Miguel Santiago
Image caption,
The scene cost £10,000 to construct

The wooden nativity was funded by the hotel and put together by retired theatre design lecturer Liz Friendship.

Ms Friendship said the festive scene had also been targeted by thieves in the past.

"In 2018 Mary was taken, in 2019 two shepherds were stolen and never came back, and in 2020 it's burnt down.

"It's now just three kings staring at the bus stop. It's very sad."

Image source, Miguel Santiago
Image caption,
The scene was in ruins following the petrol bomb attack

Villagers are now appealing for help to catch the suspects responsible for the Christmas crime.

Mr Santiago added: "It's a shame because so much effort went into putting it together this year.

"We added three kings which really made it a great sight, we made sure the figures couldn't be taken by fixing them down.

"It's really disappointing that this has happened but the locals have been great and we will be back next year with a bigger and better nativity."

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: "Officers are investigating a report of criminal damage to a nativity scene on the High Street, in Raglan on Christmas Eve.

"It has been reported that fire damage was caused to the set at approximately 9.45pm on the evening of Thursday 24th December 2020.

"The scene that belonged to the Beaufort Hotel was totally damaged as a result."

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, she said.