A GROUP of Prestatyn volunteers have been forced to pick up the pieces of their award winning display, after an "upsetting" act of vandalism.

Despite the difficulties of social distancing, the seasoned members of The Friends of Prestatyn Railway Station managed to repair the damage caused by a "gang" of teenage girls within 24 hours.

The actions of the girls at Prestatyn Railway Station - including ripping flowers from the tiered planter at the foot of the station steps and emptying two more near the booking office - have caused outrage on Facebook group Prestatyn Connect, with a post on June 24 attracting more than 130 comments.

Group secretary Sherry Edwards said:“We sorted the damage out the same day.

“It was very upsetting to see the post on Prestatyn Connect the first evening, most especially as we’d been down that evening watering and weeding because Tony Griffiths - a committee member who also does all our videos and photos - was due to do the early summer photos showing how the summer bedding is settling in.

“We’ve been quite overwhelmed with the amount of anger from Prestatyn residents on the Prestatyn Connect Facebook Page - we knew that our work was valued from the comments from residents as we work down there, but people have been very upset."

Chairman Carol Holliday said: ‘This was a very upsetting incident, we have never had vandalism at the station before and I should like to thank the volunteers who acted so quickly to replace the plants’’

The group's work, which is ongoing throughout the year, has earned the top award in Wales in Bloom's 'It’s Your Neighbourhood' Competition over the past three years.

The station, which features a large Welcome to Prestatyn - A Walkers Welcome sign, has also been named 'Best Kept Manned Station in Wales' for the past two years in the Tidy Towns Competition.

Ms Edwards added: "Our work at the station is on-going throughout the year and we look after the station entrances with planters and a small garden which we’ve adopted on the Coronation Gardens side, the railway embankment where we’ve planted thousands of spring bulbs which make a lovely display from mid February through to April each year.

However, this act of vandalism comes during a difficult time for the volunteers.

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Ms Edwards said: "The lockdown has been difficult for us, so many of our members have been self-isolating so the work has, in the main been done by just five of us, and Chris Ruane has also lent his support.

"We rely on sponsorship and fund-raising, which has been difficult for the past months - each year we spend approximately £1,500 on plants."

The group intends to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the near future.

A spokesperson for the British Transport Police said: "British Transport Police were contacted at 7.10am on June 25 following criminal damage at Prestatyn station.

"Flower beds at the station had been vandalised and plants thrown over the concourse. Enquiries into the incident are ongoing"