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Bury St Edmunds allotment-holders targeted by thieves as reminder issued to check plots

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Allotment-holders in Bury St Edmunds are being urged to report any problems to the town council and police after some gardeners spoke of their plots being raided.

Bury Town Council said it had not been made aware of any reported thefts for more than 12 months, however one allotment-holder at the Cotton Lane site said entire crops had been taken while others said beans, cabbages and strawberries had been raided recently.

Nicola Miller, who has held an allotment at Cotton Lane for many years, said: "Over the last two decades we've had regular incidents of theft and damage to our allotment shed, but it seems to be more brazen now.

Cotton Lane allotments in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley
Cotton Lane allotments in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley

"We've lost entire crops to thieves (and we know it is humans and not muntjac or other wild animals) and I very much doubt these are being stolen by hungry people.

"I don't have a problem with someone taking a few things because they can't afford fresh fruit and veg but when you are stealing an entire bed of cauliflower that's not hunger, that's capitalism."

She said past thefts had included shed break-ins where wheelbarrows, spades, forks and hand tools were stolen.

"These are expensive to replace and have sentimental value. Financially we can take the hit now but when we first got the allotment we had five children to raise and very little money and theft hit us very hard.

"It is so dispiriting and there's so little the police can do. There are a lot of people on our site who can't afford these losses. We're not all middle-class Tom and Barbaras living the good life."

Greg Luton, town clerk, said: "We have more than 300 allotments in the town and although we haven’t been made aware of thefts of items or produce from the Cotton Lane site, we’d ask allotment holders to report any issues.

"Suffolk Police frequently remind residents that during the summer they should regularly check their allotments and sheds for disturbances and to report problems to them and us."