Plot holders frustrated by persistent looters

NRHNLM110822A1 - Alotment holders in Ripley are angry about repeated break-ins. from left Keith Cantrill, Jay Bird, Josh Clark, Paul Bird and Gary McKenna
NRHNLM110822A1 - Alotment holders in Ripley are angry about repeated break-ins. from left Keith Cantrill, Jay Bird, Josh Clark, Paul Bird and Gary McKenna

FED UP members of an allotment association regularly targeted by looters are taking a stand by beefing up security measures.

The Nuttall’s Park allotments on Albion Street in Ripley were broken into for the second time in three weeks last Tuesday.

Looters took garden strimmers, a camping stove and a pair of Stanley knives along with other equipment from six locked sheds.

But now allotment association members have said enough is enough and are working with Ripley’s Safer Neighbourhood Team to firm up security.

Treasurer of the association, Jackie Walton, said: “People keep cutting the locks and getting in. We went through three or four weeks once where the plots were being broken into all the time.

“We must have gone through five or six new locks.

“The trouble is allotments are soft targets, when you have been broken into once you tend to get broken into again.

“There are a lot of fantastic people on these plots and we all look out for each other, it just gets frustrating at times.”

Ripley Safer Neighbourhood Team has now agreed to hold a ‘marking’ event at the Nuttall’s park allotments within the next fortnight.

The plan is to mark every piece of garden equipment with the words ‘stolen from Nuttall’s Park Allotment Association’ using a special silver marking device that cannot be rubbed off.

PCSO for the Ripley area, Sarah Dufton hopes the markings will work as a deterrent to looters planning to sell on any of the items.

She said: “If someone is to break in and see every spade and every hoe with ‘stolen from’ on it hopefully they will think: ‘I won’t take that because the retail value will be basically nothing’.”

PCSO Dufton, said the safer neighbourhood team will place posters around the area to remind thieves that the property there is marked.

Officers are also due to step up patrols in the area over the coming weeks.

Tuesday’s break in marks one in a string of burglaries from Ripley’s allotments.

Three weeks ago 50 sheds were broken into at the Nuttall’s Park site, on the same night as property was stolen from the Greenhillocks allotments, at nearby Peasehill.

On that occasion mainly food was taken from growers’ plots as well items such as tea and coffee from the sheds themselves.

Treasurer Jackie believes the hike in food prices could be to blame for the mindless attacks. She also said a collapsed fence on a neighbouring property allowed easier access to the site - but this is also due to be fixed soon.

If you witnessed anything suspicious around the Nuttall’s Park allotments from Sunday evening, August 14, through to Tuesday morning of August 16, contact Derbyshire Police on 0345 123 33 33.