TWO years after their sheds were ransacked by yobs and arsonists city allotment keepers say they are still under attack – because fruit and veg fiends keep helping themselves to their crops.
Cherries, marrows, pears and pumpkins have all been stolen this month in a spate of covert raids at the Moneyfields Allotments in Teignmouth Road, Portsmouth.
But this time, gardeners at the 460-plot site fear the culprit could be one of their own.
Data analyst and dad-of-two, Tim Hale, said: ‘Since we were affected by the break-ins the association has done a really good job of making all the fences higher and more secure.
‘The suspicion I’ve now got is that this has got to be people inside the site, because it’s much more difficult to access.
‘From a community point of view that is very disappointing.’
The 43-year-old from Baffins was distraught earlier this month to learn thieves had made off with a pumpkin planted by his children, aged two and five, and cut the stalks of two more.
It led to a sad encounter which saw him forced to tell the youngsters the squash plants could no longer be used for Halloween.
He added: ‘The money involved is quite small because it’s a couple of pounds for what they've taken, but it’s about the work that goes into it. This is is total thoughtlessness.’
On Saturday, committee member Matt Redsull arrived at his plot to find his two pear trees had been totally raided.
The 46-year-old upholsterer is convinced there are multiple hands at work.
He said: ‘There’s a gang that goes round and they target fruit.
‘They wait until it goes quiet and then they pounce.
‘It’s irritating because if you speak to anyone here they would probably let you try some of their crops.’
If the culprit is caught, he said, the repercussions will be heavy.
‘If we find out who it is we’ll confiscate their keys straight away,' he said.
‘This is 12 months of hard work gone down the drain – just give us a break.'
READ MORE: City allotments targeted by arsonists