Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 14:46 UK

Fruit and veg thefts on the rise

The society represents 93,000 allotment holders

The economic downturn is thought to be fuelling a rise in thefts of fruit and vegetables from allotments.

Allan Rees, chairman of the National Society of Allotments and Leisure Gardeners, said plot holders had noticed an increase in crime.

He said over the last few months food was being taken to eat rather than just being destroyed by vandals.

Allotments in Dorset, Wolverhampton and Staffordshire, have reported a recent spate of incidents.

Tatnam Farm plot holders in Oakdale, Poole, Dorset, told the society food and tools had been stolen.

'People on breadline'

It comes after two wheelbarrow-loads of rhubarb and beetroot were reported stolen from the Sandy Lane Allotments in Bushbury, Wolverhampton.

Rhubarb, potatoes and onions were plundered in Cheslyn Hay, near Cannock, Staffordshire.

Mr Rees, whose society represents 93,000 plot-holders, said: "We are noticing when thieves break in now they tend to be taking the fruit and vegetables instead of just destroying them.

"People who are on the breadline will wait for the opportunity and take it.

"When I was a child, this sort of thing was happening because of the poverty around, but I would rather see them eating it than just destroying it."

Thefts spark 'veg-ilante action'
18 Sep 08 |  Hereford/Worcs
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15 Oct 04 |  Lincolnshire

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