VANDALISM occurred at a pub over the weekend.

Simone and Gary Willis, landlords of the Victorian Tap pub in Hexham, were disappointed to find on Saturday morning (March 11) the new conifers they had bought to decorate the outside of the pub had been stolen.

The pair took on the pub more than a year ago. 

Simone, 55, said: "They were there the day before and then Gary took the dogs out for a walk.

"When he came back in he said 'you're not going to believe this, all the trees have gone. There's no trees left in any of our troughs at all'.

"I went outside and there was soil everywhere, they'd been ripped out so all that was left were the heathers and our ivy."

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"We were going to put primroses in but we wanted to wait until April because of the frosts, so we're just really upset. You try and make somewhere look nice and idiots come and do things like that for no reason."

"We love the pub very much. But sometimes you get idiots that think it's okay to disrespect things. We've had plants stolen before from the back garden as well. People have taken away whole pots with plants in, so it's not just an isolated experience."

Simone said the repeated 'wilful vandalism' has prompted them to consider installing CCTV at the front and back of the pub.

"It's a waste of a living thing, for somebody to just rip it out and throw it to one side for no reason. It's the effort we put in to make the pub look nice, it makes you very sad to put time and effort in and have it thrown in your face.

"This has upset us because it was literally all conifers, it was probably about £50 of trees."

Simone keeps a box in the ladies' toilets, filled with deodorants, body sprays, body wipes and more.

"You'll go in on a morning and the whole lot's been stolen, the box is empty. That costs me about £12 to £15 to fill up each time."

She said their customers have been 'very supportive' of them.

"We're not going to be beaten by it, we're going to keep putting plants out. A lot of people said how lovely they think our displays are in summer and they hope we carry on regardless."