Vandal blight wrecks Sidmouth floral features

PUBLISHED: 11:19 09 July 2011 | UPDATED: 10:02 11 July 2011

TRASHED: Floral tubs and hanging baskets were overturned and broken at Connaught Gardens

TRASHED: Floral tubs and hanging baskets were overturned and broken at Connaught Gardens

Archant

Late-night louts heralded a landmark 40th anniversary year for Sidmouth in Bloom with criminal activity on four nights out of six last week- causing more than £1,000 of damage.

VANDALS ran riot and left an unprecedented trail of floral destruction in Sidmouth just weeks before its Britain in Bloom judging day of destiny.

Late-night louts tarnished a landmark 40th anniversary year for Sidmouth in Bloom with criminal activity on four nights out of six last week- causing more than £1,000 of damage.

Elderly members of the valued organisation’s dedicated committee have even had to pay out of their own pockets for some repairs.

Tax-payers are also footing the bill for the spree.

“I have never, in 40 years doing Sidmouth in Bloom, seen such vandalism. It really has upset me,” said president Joy Seward, 78.

“Every phone call I take seems to be from someone saying there’s been more damage.”

Shameless vandals even targeted Fred the Peacock after townsfolk rallied to raise £2,300 to save the floral favourite from the chop.

Around £250 of damage was caused in Blackmore Gardens when its centrepiece was targeted and plants broken late last Thursday.

Floral tubs and hanging baskets were overturned and broken, and bedding plants ripped out, at Connaught and Blackmore Gardens between Tuesday and Wednesday last week. The repair effort cost £750.

The following night more flower beds were trampled and plants were broken at Connaught Gardens.

Days before a park bench was torn from its mountings and lobbed onto a carpet bed at the Three Cornered Plot before a nearby floral Loch Ness Monster was pushed over.

“For Sidmouth as a holiday town this is pretty serious. We’ve made lots of plans for our 40th year,” added Mrs Seward.

“But urns have been smashed and there’s not a flower to be seen in some places. It’s theft as well.

“If whoever is doing this has so much energy they should help us - none of the committee are particularly fit.

“I’m determined we will do all we can to make this year special. It’s so hard, but we’ll get through by hook or by crook.

“East Devon (district council) has been wonderful.”

EDDC staff have carried out repairs. A council spokesman said incidents were reported to police along with a request for more night-time patrols of Sidmouth gardens.

He urged residents and visitors to be on the lookout for unruly behaviour and to report it to police immediately.


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