Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 08:40 UK

Thieves target lilac collection

Lilacs cut by thieves at Withdean Park
The lilacs stems were cut off with secateurs and tied in bunches

Thieves have targeted a rare collection of lilacs growing in a Brighton park, police have said.

About 80 plants were damaged at Withdean Park, which had boasted one of the largest collections of lilacs in the world with 230 different types.

Thieves stole from the park twice, most recently over the bank holiday weekend.

Phillipa Shaw, a Friends of Withdean Park co-ordinator, said it was believed the flowers were taken to sell on to florists or market stalls.

She said: "They have damaged about 80 bushes. We have between four and five hundred, so it's made a big impact.

"We're really devastated about it."

The thieves cut the flowers' stems with secateurs and tied them in bunches with coloured string, some of which was left behind.

Sussex Police confirmed they were investigating the thefts.

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The most recent theft was over the bank holiday weekend



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