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19th Oct, 2021

Allotment holders heartbroken after thieves snatch machinery

“IT’S devastating” – a ransacked storeroom, five petrol driven cultivators, four lawnmowers, a generator and a strimmer all stolen.

That was the sight that greeted Winyates Green allotment holders on Sunday morning, June 7.

Machinery valued at thousands of pounds and bought and paid for over the years through fundraising and donations taken by thieves.

“It’s a kick in the teeth,” said allotment association chair Phil Panting.

“We know how they got in and they have taken every piece of equipment and itis all owned by the association. I’m relatively new here, but some of the plot holders have been around for more than 30 years – it’s devastating.”

Winyates Green Allotments is an award winning site, often regarded as the best kept in the West Midlands and seen as a model for other allotment associations in the borough.

Phil said the thieves had driven down to the foot of Furze Lane, broken the padlock and forced the gate to the nature reserve where they then parked their van.

They then broke into the storeroom and stole the machinery, skirting around two nearby houses in their efforts to avoid detection.

“They must have made at least three journeys because of the weight of the equipment,” said Phil.

“We have some CCTV with a van going down Furze Lane at 12.15am on it and we’re currently examining more footage for an identification.”

With reports that the allotments at Greenlands have also been targeted, Police are urging associations and householders to securely lock tools away in sheds.

“For obvious reasons this we haven’t been able to hold our open day this year and that is normally our biggest fundraiser,” said Phil.

“As it stands at the moment, we have no income at all.”

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