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Thieves take competition flowers

10 June 09 15:50 GMT

Thieves have taken more than 700 bedding plants from a floral display in Fife.

Park officers believe the plants were stolen in Glenrothes to order last weekend.

It is being seen as a blow to the Fife town's hopes of doing well in this year's Britain in Bloom competition.

The begonias and geraniums were in a display in Riverside park and were said to be difficult to replace at this time of year.

Nigel Brown, Fife Council's area parks officer, said: "We normally get some minor theft of bedding plants at this time of year but the amount stolen over the past three days implies that those responsible are stealing to order and have a market already identified.

"The plants are all good quality, mainly mixed colours of Begonia and Geranium and it will be difficult to replace them at this stage of the year."

Glenrothes was nominated to represent Scotland in the Large Town category of Britain in Bloom following its success in 2008, when it scooped the major award in Beautiful Scotland for being the most attractive and sustainable community in Scotland.

Margaret Reilly, chairwoman of Take a Pride in Glenrothes, said: "This is an important year for the communities of Glenrothes as they are presented on the national stage and Riverside Park plays a significant role in our presentation to the judges.

"Those that are responsible for these thefts surely don't realise that they are stealing from, not only all the residents of Glenrothes, but also visitors and those that work in the area as they are being deprived from viewing the floral displays in Riverside Park."

'Generous sponsorship'

She added: "A significant amount of work goes into making Glenrothes attractive and this is not only from the local authority, but includes community groups and individuals.

"The provision of these floral displays are only possible as a result of generous sponsorship from local businesses and we will be eager to prosecute those responsible."

Insp Stuart Menzies, of Fife Constabulary, said: "The persons who have stolen these plants would have been in the area of Riverside Park for some time and will have had to use a large vehicle or trailer to transport them.

"The park is well used over the weekends and it is highly likely that these thefts have been witnessed."

Glenrothes will be visited by the Britain in Bloom judges in August and will hear the results of their efforts at an award ceremony in Torbay in September.

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