Thieves steal playhouse from Hitchin children’s allotment

PUBLISHED: 08:37 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:37 01 March 2018

Kim Richardson's daughter Charlotte playing in the now-stolen playhouse. Picture: Kim Richardson

Kim Richardson's daughter Charlotte playing in the now-stolen playhouse. Picture: Kim Richardson

Archant

A group of families who worked all winter to build a community allotment have appealed for support after thieves stole their donated playhouse.

Kim Richardson, her partner Adam and friends used donated materials and gear to put together the Plot 33 children’s allotment off Old Hale Way in Hitchin – and had it ready to open in the spring.

But she returned to the allotment with some youngsters to find the extremely heavy blue playhouse gone – lifted right off its base and carried away.

“People think it’s kids, but it must be quite a few of them,” Kim told the Comet. “I walked around the fields and found bits of it. They’ve taken it across a river and through some woods – they clearly really wanted it.

“Somebody got in touch with me over Facebook and said a farmer had put up that a playhouse had miraculously appeared in a field – that was the Monday before I found it was missing. I got all excited that we were going to get it back, but it had since gone from there too. We still haven’t located it.

“The playhouse was there about three months. To turn up with a few of the kids and have it gone was absolutely gutting.”

Kim got hold of the allotment last August, and the hardy team of volunteers built it up during the winter ahead of a planned opening for the community this spring. The playhouse was donated by a woman in Luton.

Since the theft, Kim has had two more playhouses offered offered free of charge – and she has widened her call for the community to get behind the allotment project.

“The community has been great with donations,” she said. “We’ve had benches donated, the shed, pallets and more.

“A lot of people wait for allotments and I was lucky to get this one. The idea was, because this one is huge, basically to open it up to everyone and we can all work on it.

“I’d love for other people to get involved – I’d love to have a few older people come and help keep an eye on it through the week. The children enjoy it but they’re not going to do the hardest work.

“We’ve been doing it all ourselves, and now maybe it is time for others to come on board.”

To join in, call Kim on 07832 210753, email kimrichardson1@hotmail.co.uk, or go to facebook.com/groups/792707544251692.

Police said the playhouse was stolen at some point between 1.30pm on Friday, February 9, and 6am on Sunday, February 18.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area between those times or thinks they have information that could help police should call 101, quoting crime reference G1/18/575.

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