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‘It’s a strange thing to nick’ - villagers talk of stolen hedges

PUBLISHED: 19:05 12 January 2019 | UPDATED: 06:40 13 January 2019

The gap where there should be a hedge in Church Road, Tostock Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

The gap where there should be a hedge in Church Road, Tostock Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MARIAM GHAEMI

“You are not going to believe this...” This was how Tostock resident Des Wells began his conversation with Suffolk police to tell them a hedge had been stolen from his property in Church Road.

And it turns out his home wasn’t the only one in the village, near Beyton in west Suffolk, targeted by hedge thieves.

Residents in Tostock were also aware of a house in Flatts Lane where a row of hedging had been taken.

There, Kitty Harding, who is retired, said it was “unnerving”, but she “wasn’t surprised”, having been the victim of theft before.

In both cases they were recently planted and in front gardens.

Mr Wells’ hedge was made of yew, measuring about 3ft high and 15ft wide, and had been taken between 6.30am and 7.30am on Friday, January 11.

Mrs Harding lost about 15-20 laurel plants – that once grown would have made a sizeable hedge – overnight on Thursday, January 10.

Mr Wells, 51, a mechanic, said a neighbour had alerted him to the fact his hedge was missing, but he thought ‘he’s winding me up’.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “To steal that, you have got to be a desperate landscape gardener or totally dishonest.

“It’s a strange thing to nick. When I reported it I said ‘you are not going to believe this...’ and she [the police] said ‘try me’. She said ‘you won’t believe what people steal’.”

Mr Wells, who has lived there for 22 years, said once the plants had become established it wouldn’t have been possible to have removed them without digging them up.

He had been replacing all of the hedge around the front of his property and said the section taken was worth up to £400.

“The hedging is quite expensive to buy so they were nicked for the value of them I should imagine,” he said.

Mr Wells was home at the time, but suffering with a cold and he said he didn’t hear a thing.

Mrs Harding, who has lived at her home for 20 years, said she had expected her plants to be taken, adding the property’s location is vulnerable being right on the road.

“Every time I opened the curtains the next morning and saw they were there I was like ‘oh, they are still there’.

“I was sad, but I wasn’t surprised they were taken.”

She said in the past little things had been stolen, such as a Christmas wreath, and in 2016 the property was burgled.

She had got a landscape company in to carry out the work in her front garden, adding “the whole job was a lot of money”.

Mr Wells said the measurements for his hedge issued by the police in the appeal for information were incorrect.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting crime references 37/2061/19 (Church Road) or 37/2136/19 (Flatts Lane), or use the online crime reporting link.

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