“Mindless vandalism” ruins Letchworth allotments

VANDALS struck at an allotments over the weekend, breaking into sheds, damaging crops and setting a polytunnel alight.

Dorothy Slater, of Wheat Hill, Letchworth, discovered the damage at Runnalow Allotments on Sunday morning, having left the Bedford Road site the previous day with everything in order.

Ms Slater, who has been a tenant at the allotments for 18 years, said: “It’s not that unusual but this time was particularly bad.

“A great deal of damage to allotment holders’ sheds was caused with the locks prised open and doors broken down.

“A polytunnel was set on fire and the tunnel is now unusable.

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“The owner is 80 next month and we’ve all been persuading him to stay on. He is visually impaired so re-establishing his polytunnel will be very challenging.

“It’s just absolutely mindless vandalism. Hopefully this will make the council sit up a bit.”

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PC Quentin Lane, from the Letchworth neighbourhood team, said: “We are investigating a number of incidents of criminal damage and thefts which occurred at the allotment over the weekend and are following a number of lines of enquiry to determine who was responsible.

“Unfortunately allotments are fairly open and can be vulnerable to these types of incidents. Recently we’ve been working with North Herts District Council to find a way to make the sites more secure and one of the options is lockable storage containers.

“We’ll continue to work with the council and allotment holders to find a suitable solution, and will also step up patrols in the area.

“This type of behaviour is totally unacceptable and I would urge the community to keep an eye out and report any suspicious incidents around the area to police.”

Cllr Ian Knighton, NHDC portfolio holder for leisure, added: “This is of course extremely frustrating and upsetting for the tenants of the allotments, and we deplore the actions of the individual(s) involved in this act of mindless vandalism. We would urge anyone who may have witnessed anything unusual or suspicious at the allotments to get in touch with the Police on their non-emergency number - 0845 3300 222.”

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