Equipment worth thousands stolen yesterday in Ilford allotment site raid

Vegetables growers in Ilford arrived at their allotment site yesterday to find it had been ransacked.

The raid on the site in Loxford Lane has been described as the “most serious example of crime” there with thousands of pounds of equipment stolen.

Secretary of the Ilford Allotment Society John Daniels said: “I noticed the gates were wide open while on my way to work and I went in and found the mess.

“There is devastation among the people here and word is spreading quickly.

“The allotments have always been a target but not to this degree and it’s the worst we have seen.

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“We are trying to grow our fruit and vegetables in peace but the criminal element of our society is making this very difficult.”

More than 100 sheds were broken into as well as the shop and a steel container used for storage.

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Items stolen include three �500 petrol fuelled rotavator machines used to dig the ground, six strimmers used to cut the grass, petrol generators worth �500 and a range of tools.

Police were called and a forensic team investigated the area but only found glove marks and scuff marks, according to Mr Daniels.

The school groundsman, who lost �1,500 of equipment, believes the culprits were a gang of at least 10 people who had a vehicle.

He said: “Heavy duty bolt cutters were used to break chains and lock systems so this was clearly a professional and organised crime which needs to be brought to the attention of the public.

“We do not believe that this crime was community based and think people from outside the area have come in with one thing in mind to rip apart and steal as much as they can.”

Damaged gate locks have now been replaced and the society will ask Redbridge Council for support on how further incidents can be prevented.

The raid is understood to have happened in the early hours of yesterday.

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