A green-fingered group from Sheffield have been devastated by a break-in and the theft of £2,000 worth of tools and equipment from their community lock-up.
The High Green in Bloom group, which was set up in 2011, arrived last Wednesday to find that their tool store container in Mortomley Park, High Green had been robbed overnight.
Organiser Jo Birch told The Star: “It’s a 10 x 8 steel shipping container and they broke off all three locks and took every one of our tools right down to our hand trowels and gloves, even the anti-bac gel and first aid kit, along with our three lawnmowers.
“We were numb when we opened the doors and saw that the only tool they’d left, ironically was a snow shovel,” said Jo. “We are only a small group of volunteers, there’s around nine of us and our oldest member of High Green in Bloom is in his 80s and has been looking after the park rose garden and planters around the village for the last nine years.”
The group mainly work in the rose garden in the park every Saturday morning and also look after a number of small green spaces including all the village planters.
They also organise the village gala party in the park in early September and arrange the village Christmas lights.
Jo said: “We feel heartbroken to think that potentially someone in the village has done this. We have had so many lovely comments from residents that see us working in the village, that they appreciate what we do and even more so this last year, as the park has been a godsend to families during the lockdown, giving them a lovely open space to walk and play in this summer. And for us too, it’s got us through these tough times.”
Jo added: “We are defiant that we won’t let this stop us doing what we do for the people that appreciate the park and its surrounds and yes we will carry on.”
Over the weekend the group has had offers of tools, equipment and donations from local businesses, the parish council and local residents - one in memory of a loved one, which Jo says, “brought me to tears.”
“It just shows how strong and resilient small communities like ours are and we can only offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone that supports us. It’s not only for our health and well-being but for those that live here too.
"These horrible thieves won’t stop us doing what we love,” said Jo.
South Yorkshire Police are investigating the theft and anyone with information should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.