Julie today appealed to Wearsiders to help track down vandals who attacked part of the Sunderland Illuminations display -; just hours after the attraction opened.

Damage estimated at £1,000 was caused to one alien and several dinosaur statues at Roker Park over the weekend. A second alien figure has also been stolen.

“The actions of a minority are spoiling the excitement and enjoyment of the majority, which is very sad indeed,” said Julie, who represents Sunderland Central.

“I hope the culprits will soon be caught and, in the meantime, I would urge anyone with information to come forward and report the details.”

The roots of Sunderland’s hugely popular illumination displays to at least 1930, when members of the Electricity Committee lit up Roker lighthouse for several nights.

Three years later, in 1936, the bridges, buildings and bowling green of Roker Park were draped in lights for the first time -; with admission costing sixpence for adults.

Only the outbreak of war forced the lights to go dark, as they broke blackout regulations. But, once peace returned, so did the lights -; clocking up four million visitors in 1949 alone.

“The switch-on of the Sunderland Illuminations is a much anticipated event,” said Julie. “I just hope that the vandals can be caught and the display doesn’t suffer any further damage.”

  • This year’s illuminations will shine out at Roker Park, Cliffe Park and on the seafront between 5pm and 10pm each night until November 5.
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