Allotments holders in spud thief hunt

SENTRIES will be keeping their eyes peeled in a bid to catch a cheeky thief with a taste for fresh veg.Fed up allotment holders at Gallows Hill, Hadleigh, have been forced to take desperate measures and patrol their land night and day after losing rows of potatoes over the last six weeks.

SENTRIES will be keeping their eyes peeled in a bid to catch a cheeky thief with a taste for fresh veg.

Fed up allotment holders at Gallows Hill, Hadleigh, have been forced to take desperate measures and patrol their land night and day after losing rows of potatoes over the last six weeks.

Despite the gruesome road name they won't be stringing up the villains when they catch them.

At least one allotment holder wants to see the town copying Glemsford and employing private security patrols to stem the rising tide of vandalism and theft in Hadleigh.


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Reg Smith said: "The town and district council have the power to employ people who can arrest people and hold them until the police arrive.

"There's so much persistent damage, it's not only theft."

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But Rusty Chisholm, secretary of the Gallows Hill Allotment Association, said: "Depending on who they are I will give them a bit of ground from one of my plots and they can grow their own vegetables. I might even give them the seed and they can just see how much effort it takes to till the ground and tend the crop throughout the year."

He said the thief mostly stole potatoes, but occasionally took a handful of carrots or a couple of onions.

The thief does not just dig up one plant, but a couple of rows each time, getting away with an estimated six to eight kilograms a time.

Last weekend as well as potatoes, a bunch of chrysanthemums was added to the usual haul.

Every plot that has been affected has been close to a pathway and under the light from a nearby street lamp, said Mr Chisholm.

The thefts are no joke to people, at least half of whom are pensioners.

All the allotment holders put in a lot of hard work tilling the land and nurturing their crops in the neatly-laid out allotment beds.

Mr Chisholm said the latest theft victim, a young woman, had come to him in tears after finding all her potatoes had gone, and another victim had not been seen for five weeks, since his plot was hit.

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