Volunteers 'demoralised' after vandals cause damage in Blackmore Gardens weeks before judging
PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 July 2018
'Drunken destruction' in Blackmore Gardens has caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage, a fortnight before national judges are set to visit the town.
Demoralised volunteers were met with shattered glass, broken urns and damaged floral displays, including the children’s planting at Sidmouth Library, on Sunday morning.
Sidmouth in Bloom’s chairman Lynette Talbot said helpers spent nearly four hours clearing up the mess.
Judging is taking place on August 3 as Sidmouth competes in the champion of champions categories in both South West and Britain in Bloom competitions.
Lynette said: “It is not just Blackmore that is being overtaken by louts.
“Connaught Gardens and the beach are being abused by drunken revellers and locals will stop going out on Saturday nights.
“The hot weather, beach and parks are there for all to enjoy, and the town should not become the place to be for a jolly and drunken destruction.”
Volunteers had arrived at the park to plant two urns, only to find they had been smashed in the incident.
Elmer the elephant was also damaged after vandals trod over the garden, breaking several plants including the echeveria plants on the elephant’s back.
Broken glass peppering the pathways was swept up and plants and soil that had been pulled out of the library troughs cleared up.
Peter Endersby, from the group, added: “They have gone out of their way to smash the place up.
“We are talking hundreds of pounds. It’s demoralising for the town and our volunteers, all our efforts are going down the pan.”
An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said the council was working with the police and community support officer to tackle the issue and would only employ a private security company as a ‘last resort’.
She added; “We deplore the mindless vandalism that we are experiencing in our parks and gardens and quickly respond by replanting and repairing any damage caused.
Sergeant Andy Squires said there are three police departments tasked to patrol Connaught and Blackmore Gardens and lock up the green when on evening patrols.
Anyone with information should email call 101 quoting CR/063384/18.