Ottery allotment thefts lead to police involvement

PUBLISHED: 11:00 31 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:04 17 June 2010

AS THEFTS from allotments in Ottery St Mary continue, victims have now turned to the town s police to curb the pilfering trend

AS THEFTS from allotments in Ottery St Mary continue, victims have now turned to the town's police to curb the pilfering trend.

As terrible weather ruined a planned allotment day barbeque last Saturday, there was a double blow for one plot holder who arrived at the site in Higher Ridgeway to discover one of her prized assets, a pumpkin, had been stolen.

Jackie Roche of Kennaway Road said: "Any pumpkin to me is a prize pumpkin, I was absolutely gobsmacked, sat in the pouring rain, the irony is that it wasn't even ripe so it's a total waste."

Mrs Roche said the ongoing problem is having a detrimental affect on a hobby that should provide pleasure for growers who work hard throughout the year.

"I'm proud of all my vegetables. The effort I put in at the allotment means I don't have to go out and buy them. Pumpkins are my autumn food so someone has literally taken food off my plate.

Its sad, many people come up who have a genuine interest in growing their own food, now to stop them coming in is terrible. The allotment is our salvation, I love coming home from work and going there but we are on vigilante watch and it turns it all around, it's awful.

We're all losing stuff and its starting to add up. There's tens of thousands of pounds of organic vegetables up there. It's got to the point where my sister said that if we're going to get more of this it's not worth it anymore and that's just wrong.

The sad thing is that if people really can't afford food then surely we would give them things if they asked, out and out thieving is beyond the pale."

Ottery police will be stepping up their monitoring of the site. PCSO Maria Clapp said: "I have spoken to people that live overlooking the allotments and asked them to be aware of any unfamiliar faces, hopefully the gate to the property will be fixed soon and we will be upping patrols in the area, we urge anyone with information to contact us."

Allotment committee chairman Adrian Forster said: "The police were very helpful in our chat about security measures. Stealing vegetables is taking away months of hard work and investment. Id like to reaffirm that we will report anyone stealing to police should we catch them.

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