FOR years he’s been collecting the green machines that help gardens cut a dash in the stripes stakes.
But now lawnmower afficionado Ian Wallis, who painstakingly restores the machines as his hobby, fears several of his prize items will be sold off as scrap - after thieves broke into his allotment shed.
Ian, aged 39, has been collecting lawnmowers since he took a horticultural course at college 15 years ago.
Over the years he has built up a collection of mowers and other garden machinery which he has lovingly restored and brought back into working use.
But five of his machines were stolen when thieves ransacked the shed on his allotment - and he thinks they may be sold off as scrap for just a few pounds.
Ian, of Willoughby Street, Page Hall, Sheffield, said he is keen to hear from anyone who is offered the lawnmowers to buy, or who sees them for sale at car boot sales.
Mr Wallis said: “I have been collecting and restoring old garden machinery, particularly lawnmowers, for 15 years.
“I first started while I was at college on a horticultural course. So for my collection to have been stolen is really disappointing.
“I imagine they will probably just be sold off for a few pounds for their scrap metal value, whereas to me they have much more value.
“I suppose there is a chance that they could end up at car boot sales over the summer, so there is some hope I might get them back.”
The lawnmowers are believed to have been stolen last Sunday evening, from Ian’s allotment plot off Wincobank Lane, where he spends many of his days while he is out of work.
“I spend most of my time at the allotment and have restored the lawnmowers to bring them back into use - so the theft represents years and years of my hard work.”
Ian is a member of the Vintage Horticultural Club and the Old Lawnmower Club, where members use their contacts to source old spare parts for their machines.
“The lawnmowers will be useless to the everyday gardener because they won’t be able to get any spare parts for them,” added Ian.
n Anyone with information about the theft should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.