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Dig for victory over thugs

PUBLISHED: 13:06 14 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 March 2010

ALLOTMENT holders in Ipswich have drawn a line in the ground in an attempt to call a halt to mindless vandalism.

The holders, many pensioners, who own sites on London Road, have spent a great deal of time cultivating plants and vegetables and generally making their area look nice.

ALLOTMENT holders in Ipswich have drawn a line in the ground in an attempt to call a halt to mindless vandalism.

The holders, many pensioners, who own sites on London Road, have spent a great deal of time cultivating plants and vegetables and generally making their area look nice.

However, most of their work has been destroyed by thugs who have trampled down plants, broken into sheds and stolen expensive equipment. Despite police intervention, the problem remains.

Now the secretary of the London Road allotment group, 74-year-old Colin Fairweather, says they don't know what to do.

"We have done all we can in the fight against these youngsters," he said. "We have contacted the police on numerous occasions but it doesn't appear that they can do much. They have sent a

helicopter up twice but the little thieves just hide in the grass, which can be about 4ft tall.

"The last time they broke in they went through four sheds, ripping them to pieces and then stole a lawnmower. There is a hole in the fence where they can get through."

One of the victims, Cathy O'Neill, had a window broken in her shed and "things generally chucked about."

Mrs O'Neill, who has had her plot for 18 months, said: "It's getting worse. Every week I go up there I hear about something else that has happened. We have tried to defend ourselves but there's not much we can do.

"We are all incensed. They are just coming to destroy and ruin our work."

Suffolk Police crime reduction officer Caroline Sayer said that they were working in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council to set up an Allotment Watch Scheme. She said: "We are trying to set up an Allotment Watch Scheme to get the community around the area to keep their eyes open and work with the police.

"We are also looking at ways in which allotment owners can be aware of keeping their property safe."

Tips include using a top quality lock on shed doors to prevent thieves getting in and always remembering to put tools away when finished with.

Anyone who wants further information or who would like to be involved in the watch scheme can

contact the Crime Reduction team on 01473 383141.

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