Fury as burglars hit 45 allotment sheds

LEP - LEYLAND  03-08-17
Stephen Mellor, chairman of Leyland Moss Side Allotment Association, is angry after nearly 50 sheds were broken into and tools stolen on the allotment site on Longmeanygate, Leyland.
LEP - LEYLAND 03-08-17 Stephen Mellor, chairman of Leyland Moss Side Allotment Association, is angry after nearly 50 sheds were broken into and tools stolen on the allotment site on Longmeanygate, Leyland.

Allotment holders have been rocked after more than 40 sheds on their plots were broken into.

Three quarters of the allotments were raided – leaving the gardeners without tools and equipment to carry out their hobby.

The mass break-ins took place on the Leyland Moss Side Allotment Association site on Longmeanygate which is owned by South Ribble Borough Council and managed by a members’ committee.

The robbers used the gardeners’ own wheelbarrows to cart their haul back to their vehicle.

Association chairman Steve Miller said it had left members “shaken”.

Mr Miller, of Leyland, said the raiders knew what they were doing.

“They were obviously prepared because they used bolt cutters to get into the site and the sheds,” he said.

“And they used spades taken from other plots to break doors down.

“Forty-five sheds were broken into, probably round about seventy-five per cent.

“We think it’s been done in the early hours because it had been raining overnight and the wheelbarrows they had left on the car park were still dry on the inside. It was fairly heavy rain, they would have been wet maybe.

“They’ve taken several rotavators, some hand tools, a woodburning stove and its chimney which was bolted to a flagstone and they’ve taken that as well, and tables and chairs from one plot.

Retired Mr Miller, 68, who worked as an information manager at Runshaw College, Leyland, said his plot was one of the ones targeted.

He said the raid had been too much for one member.

“We’ve had one resign so far, it was the last straw,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of anger at it happening, really.

“I think it’s because people feel it’s because their space has been invaded.

“It’s a nice social area where people chat to friends, it makes them quite upset.

“Some have said if it happens, it happens.

“They’ve been going for about 20 years, some of them.”

Mr Miller said nothing like this had happened to the allotments ever before.

“Never on this scale,” he said. “Two or three years ago we had a few little break-ins.”

The break-in has been reported to police.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: “At 9am on July 31, we got a call reporting there had been some break-ins at allotments on Longmeanygate.

“A number of sheds had been broken into and tools shrewn all over.”

They said equipment had also been reported stolen and that “inquiries were ongoing”.