Old woman arrested for vandalism

AN elderly woman who weeds the beds in Felixstowe's seafront gardens has been arrested by police after she was spotted ripping out the flowers instead.

AN elderly woman who weeds the beds in Felixstowe's seafront gardens has been arrested by police after she was spotted ripping out the flowers instead.

The woman, described as eccentric by residents, usually tends the blooms during her visits to the Spa Gardens each day.

Council officials and police have been aware of her weeding and dead-heading of blooms for some time but accepted it was innocent and not causing any problem and took no action.

However, the situation changed dramatically when the woman started ripping out flowers and throwing them on the ground to the amazement of people walking along the prom.

People asked her to stop and officials from the Tourist Information Centre also attended and advised her to leave the plants alone.

She ignored them and people called the police, who had no option but to arrest her for causing criminal damage.

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Before they arrived the woman - who has not been named - stripped the flowers from a 20 metre stretch of gardens right in front of the Town Hall in Undercliff Road West.

Many of the flowers, part of the colourful civic gardens, were still in bloom.

Gardeners had been leaving the flowers for as long as possible this year as the warm September weather has meant they have carried on flowering, making the seafront look attractive.

A police spokeswoman said officers had arrested the woman and cautioned her for causing criminal damage.

Walkers in the seafront gardens said the woman - who has a home in the town and family looking after her - was a familiar sight, pottering around in the gardens.

“She just mooches about, not causing any harm. She never speaks to anyone,” said one man.

“I have seen her weeding the flower beds quite often. I think she deserves a medal for helping out the gardeners.”

One woman said: “I think it is very sad that she was arrested but if this had been a young person ripping out the flowers or some drunk stampeding through the beds on a Saturday night there would be uproar if the police had not taken action.”

Do you know the woman? Contact the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324789.

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