Vandals steal flowers from community planters in Pontefract

Vandals stole plants and uprooted hundreds of flowers from community planters in Pontefract.

Monday, 13th July 2020, 4:45 pm
Vandals stole plants and uprooted hundreds of flowers from community planters in Pontefract. Photo: Colin White

Community group Pontefract in Bloom purchase thousands of flowers each year, which are displayed in planters across the town centre.

They often face problems with people stealing newly-planted flowers, but say that this year has seen more vandalism than ever before.

Last weekend, members discovered that a number of their planters on Market Place had been pushed over, while entire plants had been stolen from Southgate.

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A planter in Pontefract, pictured prior to the damage. Photo: Colin White

Normally, the group purchase small flowers, known as plugs, and then work with local community groups to help the plants grow to a suitable size.

But this year, faced with lockdown restrictions, a local nursery planted and cared for the planters, meaning that the flowers are better established than they would usually be.

The tiered planters were returned to their home on Market Place earlier this month, but were damaged just days later.

Colin White, Chair of Pontefract in Bloom, said: "All the plants were well-established. You can usually pull them out then, it takes an awful lot of doing because all the roots are well entrenched.

"[Last weekend] they were looking really good, really well established. On the Sunday morning we discovered that two of the tiered planters had been tipped over and all the plants were spilled out.

"That would have taken quite lot of doing because they're very heavy. Apart from being filled with compost, each of the planters is filled with water.

"It would take more than one person, it would take two or three people to topple it over. It's a very deliberate act.

"But all the plants and compost spilled all over the floor. We did the best we could to put them back upright but a lot of the plants have been spoiled and won't look anywhere near as good."

And just days later, Colin discovered that vandals had stolen entire cordyline shrubs from planters on Southgate.

Colin said: "We've got four planters on Southgate in front of the old hospital building. Each one of them had a well established cordyline.

"They gave the planters a bit of geometry, they produced this central feature. But somebody has come and has taken the cordyline out of each planter.

"A cordyline of that maturity might cost you £10 in the garden centre.

"The vast majority of people do respect what we're trying to do and it's a really small group of people who don't have the respect.

"We're just a small group of community volunteers trying to make the town look good.

"It's just so upsetting when people spoil it."

Anyone with information on the damage to the tiered planters is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police on 101 or via the livechat facility, quoting reference number 13200338216.