Central Park vandals - we're watching you and will see you again... in court
This is the sorry sight which greeted volunteer workers at the community garden in Boston's Central Park- the fruits of their labours savagely ripped out of the ground.
The destruction continued into the volunteer gardeners' greenhouse where pots had been thrown about and young plants destroyed.
Now a hidden high-tech camera is to be deployed in Central Park to record trouble makers 24 hours a day. And those caught on camera will be prosecuted.
Fran Taylor discovered the wreckage on Wednesday, August 29, and said: "It is absolutely heartbreaking." She is Boston Borough Council's play and physical activity officer and leads the healthy walking group members and students with learning difficulties who work in the community garden.
She said: "I know how much of their own time and effort they have put into it, and how much it means to them. They will be so upset. This sort of thing is so mindless. I hope it will not put them off carrying on. All the sweetcorn was pulled out and broken up, pumpkins and marrows were smashed to the floor. In the greenhouse everything had been upended and tipped out, all ruined."
The latest wanton vandalism in the community garden also saw attempts made to either vandalise or steal parts from the outdoor exercise equipment, a tool of some sort used to bend the thick metal on one of the Boston in Bloom signs and the Union Jack, raised on a flagpole at the time of The Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations, has been stolen
This is the latest in a catalogue of damage going back months - benches have been smashed, flowers and plants uprooted and thrown about in other areas, the Jubilee Fountain damaged, fencing damaged and football played on the bowls green surface.
Central Park staff routinely arrive for work in the morning to discover evidence of the previous evening's excesses - empty cans and bottles of alcohol strewn about the park.
And the problem is not restricted to Central Park. All the public artwork at the St Johns skatepark off Skirbeck Road has been wrecked.
Peter Hunn, the council's principal community safety officer, said: "All this goes on when there are not staff or any figures of authority there to keep a watch on the security of Central Park. And that's why we are asking the public, especially those passing by Central Park or living close to it, to be our eyes and ears after hours and call the police should they see any anti-social behaviour."
The council's main CCTV system will also be used to closely monitor the outdoor sports equipment and the Neighbourhood Policing Team is to be asked to increase patrols in the area.
Cllr Yvonne Gunter, portfolio holder for leisure services, parks and open spaces, said: "I find it truly shocking that the most harmless of activities are targeted in this way by vandals. Central Park is surrounded on three sides by properties, and I am appealing for anyone who sees or hears anything untoward going on in the park to immediately contact the police. They need not be involved any further than alerting the police so that the wreckers can be caught and brought to book.
"And I would appeal to those who cause damage and destruction to stop for a second and think about what they are doing and what the consequences may be for them and others. I am sure their parents will not be proud of them - parents who probably pay council tax, some of which then has to be used to repair the damage.
"I was in Central Park most of Sunday for the Community Showcase and it was packed with people of all ages, all enjoying themselves and enjoying this wonderful facility. They really love it, and it must be protected."
She said the constant attacks were also demoralising for the parks staff who work so hard to keep the green jewel at Boston's heart an attractive and pleasant place for all those who appreciate and enjoy it.