Hainault allotments targeted by thieves - again

Alan Wagstaff inspects the damage of the Hainault allotment

Alan Wagstaff inspects the damage of the Hainault allotment - Credit: michael fresco

Thieves stole hundreds of pounds worth of machinery on Tuesday night from a Hainault allotment.

North Hainault Allotment Holders’ Association, on New North Road, has lost a hedge trimmer and a garden strimmer - worth £500 in total – after vandals smashed a window to break in.

Alan Wagstaff, the association’s vice-chairman, says each criminal raid hits members particularly hard because they pay for equipment.

The same allotment was raided, along with several other Redbridge garden spaces, in July 2011.

Mr Wagstaff, of Fremantle Road, Barkingside, said: “It is really frustrating because we are similar to a sports club in that the people who run it are doing it in their spare time.

“The stock is bought for the good of the public. This time we have lost at least two pieces of petrol-driven equipment.

“The funds to buy the equipment come from the money accrued from renting out the allotments.”

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Police were called to the scene after a member of the allotment discovered the break-in at 8am on Wednesday.

Forensics are expected to visit the scene to see if they can recover any clues.

Mr Wagstaff believes the allotment will regain some of the lost machinery through making an insurance claim – but says members will have to repair the damage themselves.

A window was smashed on entry by the vandals.

“We think the total cost in loss and damage is £600,” added Mr Wagstaff.

Mike Fresco, of Chigwell, also has a plot on the site. He believes the raid was done by kids.

Mr Fresco, 67, said: “They broke the glass and it was too small for a man to get through - it must have been children.”

The investigation is ongoing.

The North Hainault Allotment Holders’ Association is asking if anyone could lend them a hedge trimmer or a garden strimmer whilst the investigation is being carried out.

If you do, please call Mr Fresco on 07774237527.

Anyone with information is asked to call Ilford police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.