doc

ALLOTMENT holders have called for tighter security after their sheds and greenhouses were destroyed by vandals.

Glass panels were smashed on a greenhouse, while sheds had their doors torn off and one was pushed on its side on Saturdaynight.

Gardeners discovered the damage at Elder Stubbs Allotment, East Oxford, on Sunday morning.

Thames Valley Police is now investigating the matter.

David Webster, 62, whose greenhouse was ruined, said: “It’s just vandalism.

“It would cost a few hundred quid to replace the greenhouse but it’s about our time.

“This is our relaxation. It’s peaceful there and there’s a little community.

“If I met these vandals I would lose my temper. We’d make them clean it up.”

Mr Webster, a retired BMW plant worker from Horspath Road, said the allotments had been repeatedly hit.

He said: “Last year some sheds got broken into and stuff was stolen, someone else had their onions stolen – this happens regularly.

“People are fed up because we don’t have security. The gates are properly secure but there are hedges and streams and people just find a hole or jump over. They’ve got to do something.”

Elder Stubbs is owned and managed by the Elder Stubbs Charity, who were not contactable yesterday.

The allotments also provide a home to mental health charity Restore, which provides therapy through gardening to people with mental health problems.

Recovery co-ordinator Katie Rowell said the charity had been targeted in the past.

She said: “We have had strawberries stolen and last year some of our prize pumpkins disappeared over a weekend which was really quite heartbreaking.

“It is horrible for plot holders to see their hard work destroyed.”

Wendy Skinner-Smith, chairwoman of the Oxford and District Federation of Allotment Associations, said one solution was to put up more fences.

She said: “This used to be a really difficult problem with allotments before they became popular a few years ago, they were rather neglected and not fenced.

“Allotment associations are very security conscious, it’s very important to have security.”

Thames Valley Police has asked for anyone with any information on the vandalism to call 101.