Vandals target new floral centrepiece within 24 hours
PUBLISHED: 16:07 01 June 2018 | UPDATED: 07:44 04 June 2018
Sidmouth’s newest floral centrepiece has been vandalised - just hours after it was installed.
Hard-working volunteers began planting-up Elmer, a patchwork elephant, at Blackmore Gardens on Monday, May 21, but returned the next day to find five species of flowers used in the display damaged.
Lynette Talbot, chairman of Sidmouth in Bloom, said the group was aware of who the offenders were and will be ‘dealing with the matter’.
She told the Herald: “It did not take long before vandalism happened. It was done on the first night of planting. We only have a limited supply of plants and we cannot order extras. If there is any damage we cannot get them back.
“We know they [the culprits] were youngsters and they rode the elephant. Sidmouth in Bloom is dealing with the matter.
“A heavy person could bend the elephant, it is not made to be rode on.
“It would cost £1,000 to replace just the framework - it is expensive, but it hasn’t been damaged.”
PC Steve Lee, from Sidmouth’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “We will not tolerate it. We do what we can in regards to patrolling the parks. We do lock Blackmore Gardens when able.”
On the vandalism of Elmer, he added: “There are lines of enquiry that we are following.”
Sidmouth in Bloom is hard at work alongside district council StreetScene gardeners to bring the parks and the town’s floral displays to life before national and regional competition judges arrive this summer. As part of their planting, they are asking park users to not walk through the beds in Blackmore Gardens, which have been planted up with British woodland flowers.
An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said: “This is so disappointing, particularly as volunteers give up hours of their time working on these beautiful projects and are so dedicated in keeping the town at the top of its game with different floral displays for all to enjoy.”
Sidmouth in Bloom’s next event will be the opening of its new sensory garden in the Old Boat Park tomorrow (Saturday). The day will begin at 11am with special guest Anne Swithinbank officially declaring the garden open. Activities will run until 1pm and include games for all ages.
Contact police on 101, quoting crime reference 7058/18, with information.
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