Police ‘not interested’ as yobs ransack Sheffield allotment site

Yobs have broken into an allotment shop in Sheffield
Yobs have broken into an allotment shop in Sheffield
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Yobs have caused thousands of pounds of damage at a Sheffield allotment - with the society that runs the site claiming police ‘aren’t interested’ in finding the culprits.

A gang ransacked a gardening shop on the Heeley and Meersbrook allotment on Meersbrook Road, stealing money and a laptop before trashing the building.

The ransacked office and shop at Heeley and Meersbrook Allotments'Jay Judge surveys the damage as they prepare to clean up the mess left after intruders broke in on Thursday evening

The ransacked office and shop at Heeley and Meersbrook Allotments'Jay Judge surveys the damage as they prepare to clean up the mess left after intruders broke in on Thursday evening

They also targeted three sheds and a greenhouse at the popular site, which has 500 allotments.

Allotment holders have organised a clean-up of the shop - but have been left angry after police failed to come out after the break-in was reported several times.

The break-in was discovered on Friday morning and police said resources had been ‘limited’ at the time as they dealt with a bank robbery in Rotherham.

Jay Judge, chair of The Heeley and District Allotment Protection Society, has written to MP Louise Haigh about the lack of police response.

The ransacked office and shop at Heeley and Meersbrook Allotments'Jay Judge surveys the damage as they prepare to clean up the mess left after intruders broke in on Thursday evening

The ransacked office and shop at Heeley and Meersbrook Allotments'Jay Judge surveys the damage as they prepare to clean up the mess left after intruders broke in on Thursday evening

“The sheds have been broken into and tools taken which were then used to break into the main shop,” Jay said.

“It must have been strong men - they pulled back a metal security shutter like opening a can of beans.”

She said around £200 was stolen, along with a laptop, before the yobs opened bottles of Baby Bio plant feed and emptied them out.

She said: “They just ransacked it. When they couldn’t find anything more, they deliberately trashed the place. They smashed the till, which is now unusable.”

“People are rightly very upset about what has happened.”

She said she was disappointed by the response of the police after three separate people rang up to the report what had happened.

On Friday, allotment holders were eventually told there were no available officers.

Ms Judge said someone from the society then waited all day on Saturday for an officer after being told by police somebody would come - only for no-one to turn up.

She said a team of volunteers eventually decided to clean the site up on Sunday so the shop could be used - meaning the police have missed their opportunity to gather evidence.

“We couldn’t have it not functioning for ever,” she said.

Ms Judge said allotment holders had been suffering from weekly break-ins and had been refused CCTV cameras for the site on the grounds there is no money available.

She said on one occasion last summer, police had failed to attend despite being told there were three people with hammers walking around the allotments.

She said: “I phoned 101 and I was on the phone for 90 minutes and there was no response. So I called 999 and got told off by the police.

“We had to put a message on Facebook and a few good men got down and harried them away.”

Ms Judge said: “The allotment site is a valuable community resource, we are devastated that the shop was broken into but to be honest it is one of a spate of break-ins.

“On average at least one allotment per month is being broken into, some lose tools, some have had their greenhouse stolen or their shed set on fire and when these things are reported all that is given is a crime number, no police attend or indeed seem to be interested.

“We desperately need increased security so that we might grow our fruit and vegetables in peace without the fear of losing everything we have worked so hard for.

“We would ask that whoever broke into our shop at least returns the laptop computer which has the personal details of our members on it and other essential information.

“We also ask that if anyone knows who broke into our allotment shop to report them to the police.”

Inspector Ian Stubbs, from the Sheffield West policing team, said: “At around 10am on Friday 29 January, we received a report of a burglary at an allotment on Meersbrook Road, Sheffield.

“At the time that the offence was reported to us, officers were dealing with an on-going critical incident in Rotherham and as such limited resources were available.

“We always endeavour to respond to a report as soon as possible and an officer was allocated as soon as resources became available.

“The officer has now made contact with the complainant and will work closely with them to keep them updated throughout the investigation.

“It was reported that three outbuildings and a greenhouse were broken into, causing damage to the locks, but nothing was taken.

“A shop on the site was also broken into and ransacked. Cash was taken from a till and a number of items, including a window and shutter, were damaged.

“The break-in was believed to have happened sometime overnight between Thursday 28 and Friday 29 January.

“An investigation is underway and anyone who was in the area at the time or has information about the break-in is asked to contact 101 quoting incident number 274 of Friday 29 January.”