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Community garden left feeling vulnerable after burglars steal tools

PUBLISHED: 18:20 01 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:39 06 April 2018

Alex Alexander, plot holder at the Marlpit Community Garden with the shipping container which was broken into and tools were stolen. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Alex Alexander, plot holder at the Marlpit Community Garden with the shipping container which was broken into and tools were stolen. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A community garden which rents to 30 gardeners and two schools has been left feeling vulnerable after burglars stole hundreds of pounds worth of tools.

Inside the shipping container at the Marlpit Community Garden where the glass on an inside door was smashed and tools were stolen. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYInside the shipping container at the Marlpit Community Garden where the glass on an inside door was smashed and tools were stolen. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

On Saturday morning members of the Marlpit Community Garden, off Marriott’s Way, discovered a secure metal container had been broken into and around £1,000 worth of tools stolen.

Manager of the garden Mahesh Pant said the burglary came just a week after their local PCSO handed back their key to the site.

“There was a big metal container with a big security padlock,” he said. “They had got a metal cutter and cut through the whole thing.

“There was another compartment inside and they broke the glass and took anything that was valuable.

The Marlpit Community Garden where tools have been stolen. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Marlpit Community Garden where tools have been stolen. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“The fact they could get into that container means nothing is safe there now,” he added. “We can’t be there every day so that is more worrying than the loss itself.”

The garden, which has been running five years, covers more than three acres and is managed by volunteers.

Mr Pant added they have been targeted before. In winter 2013 a hive containing thousands of bees was stolen from the site.

And last October, eight rolls of fencing stock disappeared. After one was recovered in nearby woodland, it was stolen along with the tools in the latest burglary last week.

“We think it must have been the same group of people,” said Mr Pant.

“Our members get all their tools provided. Everything is there for them so nothing belongs to the individuals. We have been running it now for nearly five years.

“We also had a big loss of a beehive in the beginning. This time it is a matter of money.

“What is worrying is we had some vandalism to start with but nothing like this. Since the loss of the beehive we have had no major incidents like this.”

The incident has been reported to Norfolk Police, Mr Pant said.

“When we had community police officers they used to come round to the garden,” he added. “Last Saturday the community police officer came with his key.

“We had to give them a key to our garden and they said they were returning it because they no longer have the community police officers.”

Anyone with any information about the burglary should contact Norfolk Police on non-emergency number 101.

To donate to the community garden please visit their JustGiving page here. The group also welcome donations of tools and other garden equipment.

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