“A FANTASTIC place to live”; “Much to be proud of”; “Nothing but lovely people”.

We have been inundated with responses about the TRUE Barry from the people who live, work, and play here every day after the Sun newspaper claimed the town is in the midst of a “crime wave”.

An article published on the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid newspaper's website earlier this month claimed reported Barry was a town of “zombies” overrun by “drug addicts thanks to greedy landlords”.

The article came off the back of think tank UK Onward publishing their Levelling Up in Practice Barry Interim Report, which identified challenges facing the town, including low productivity, concentrated deprivation and high street vacancies.

Barry And District News:

The Sun tarnished Barry's reputation with their recent report

However the think tank’s thoughts have been challenged by the people of Barry who say they are proud to be from the famous seaside town.

Business owners were particularly visceral about the town.

Loaded Dice, which sells toys, games and collectables, recently opened their first shop in Barry. Having originally traded in Cardiff, owner Graham Scutt, 39, said coming to Barry was an opportunity to be among a community of independent traders who help each other out.

“Everyone is really supportive of us,” said Mr Scutt. “The local shops help us and give us tips and pointers like when the bins are being collected – stuff like that.”

James Hay and his wife Lauren opened Wild Botanic in Barry during the pandemic. Back then Mr Hay said the town was struggling - as was the whole country - but once Barry came out of lockdown it bloomed.

In an impassioned speech, Mr Hay said: “It is not like that (how The Sun reported it). Me and my wife were shocked when we came to Barry. There is a lot of community support which I did not expect from such a big town. “

Barry And District News:

Graham Scutt has just opened his first shop in Barry. He said the town is supportive

Barry And District News:

Rhi Elward (pictured with partner Paul) owns PJ's Carpet Cleaning. She says people in the town are lovely

Other residents did not deny there are issues in the town, but while one part was maybe declining, others were booming.

Dezmond Drums commented: “There’s still a lot needs doing. The youth services are severely lacking, a few independent stores have opened but several others have also died a quick death. Goodsheds is booming, but Holton Road and Kings Square looks dead.”

Local business owner Rhi Elward, who owns PJ’s Carpet Cleaning, condemned The Sun’s coverage of Barry, saying the town was a fantastic place to live.

“Our town is a fantastic place to live and work,” said Ms Elward. “I live in a so-called "rough area", but my neighbours are fantastic and we get no problems.”

Barry And District News:

The famous Barry Town Utd supporters. Proud to be from Barry. Photo Barry Town Utd and Rhys Skinner

Even the famous Barry Town United got involved in the debate, saying there was much to be proud of in Barry.

“The best part of 1,000 people of all ages came to Jenner Park for our final home game of the season," they said. "Jenner Park is a hive of activity, with hundreds and hundreds of local players given the opportunity to play in the very same stadium Porto and Dynamo Kyiv played in. Meanwhile, Lee Kendall's first team will represent Barry in a national cup final this month. We have much to be proud of.”

Is Barry a crime riddled zombie drug addict paradise? Or is the town a fantastic community centre of thriving businesses and kind people? Let us know emailing harry.jamshidian@newsquest.co.uk.