Thieves disconnect CCTV to raid allotments and steal thousands of pounds
THIEVES ransacked a set of allotments and stole thousands of pounds worth of equipment after disconnecting a CCTV system. The Eastern Avenue Allotments, in Southend, were raided in the early hours of Sunday morning, leaving association members devastated, particularly after the hard work that was put into renovating the Nissan Hut on the site – the main target for the thieves. Before ransacking the Nissan Hut, the thieves climbed onto the roof of a neighbouring scout hut, disconnected its CCTV, before targetting the allotment hut.
Among the items stolen was a Alco Mower, worth GBP2,000 as well as two cultivators worth a combined value of more than GBP1,000. Carol Garside, secretary of the allotment society said: “They have cleared us out completely, they have taken all the equipment and created a real mess. “It is not quite the end of the year that we were expecting.
“The mower is only a year old, it is awful. “We are all volunteers in the association, and we work so hard for very little in return, just the satisfaction of seeing the allotments. “We work all year to provide this equipment and then it is just stolen, it is so disheartening.”
Allotments owners have been left to fear it was a professional operation, considering the effort that went into the theft and break-in. Carol added: “It seems like a professional operation really. They climbed on the neighbouring scout hut first, and they have turned all the CCTV cameras around.
“They have then climbed on the roof, cut a hole in the roof and must have looked through to find the best place to get in. “They have then cut a whole in the side of the hut to get access. “We thought we were well covered for security, but they have taken all the CCTV cameras, as well as the monitor.”
A lot of time and effort was spent over the last year renovating the Nissan Hut, leaving association members devastated. Volunteers at the allotments spent time and effort installing donated kitchen equipment. Carol said: “We are all absolutely devastated.
“We have spent all year modernising the site, we have really brought it up to scratch, but this just ruins it all. “It really has knocked the year for six, I couldn’t think of a much worse way to end the year. “They must have been on the site for quite a long time, and they must have had quite a large vehicle with them to transport the equipment.”
“Suspects have forced entry to the building, they have damaged a wall before carrying out a messy search.
Two lawn mowers and two cultivators were stolen.”