Fruit and veg thieves target Goodmayes plot holders

An allotment in Goodmayes is being targeted by thieves who are stealing produce from devastated growers.

The problem at the site off Douglas Road in Barley Lane, which has more than 70 plots, has been going on for more than two years, according to warden Maureen Wisbey.

She said plot holders are now digging up their fruit and vegetables early through fear of losing them.

“We’ve had lots of produce stolen and everyone is very angry,” Mrs Wisbey said.

“At the beginning of the year it was the garlic and onions and more recently a big load of potatoes went.

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“Anything that is almost ready is being targeted and it’s getting a bit soul destroying actually.”

Security has been increased at the site in a bid to protect against theft with non-drying paint being applied to the top of the gates.

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But thieves are also gaining access by cutting holes in the fence which is constantly having to be repaired.

An idea of installing CCTV cameras has been suggested but Mrs Wisbey does not think there is enough money available.

Another problem-solving idea involved monitoring the land during the night as wardens suspect the crooks come in the early hours of the morning.

The incidents have been reported to the police and officers from Seven Kings Safer Neighbourhood Team have visited the site and put up warning notices, but Mrs Wisbey said it had not helped the situation.

“It’s such a shame because people are not doing it for monetary gain,” she said.

“It’s all about growing organic products and this is spoiling the pleasure of it.

“People are now becoming suspicious of each other, it has created an awkward atmosphere.

“You don’t really talk to anyone too far away from your plot any more.”

Sgt Paul Keely said officers had put up signs and distributed leaflets in the area.

Last week, the Recorder reported on a spate of machinery and produce thefts at Fullwell Avenue allotment, Barkingside and New North Road allotment in Hainault.

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