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Leeds allotment holders fear for safety after knife attacks by vandals

Kevin Bray inspects the damage to his polytunnel. PIC: Tony Johnson

Kevin Bray inspects the damage to his polytunnel. PIC: Tony Johnson

Allotment holders have been left fearing for their safety after knife-wielding vandals destroyed equipment at their Leeds plots.

A number of polytunnels at Headingley Station Allotments have been slashed in a spate of attacks in the last week.

Kevin Bray, treasurer of the allotment association, said: “The plot holders are concerned because this damage is being caused by someone with a large sharp object.

“Apart from the damage, they’re worried about what happens if they are alone on the allotment. It’s more than just the cost to them, it becomes a safety issue.”

It is thought vandals struck at the allotment, which is near Headingley railway station off Kirkstall Lane, on Thursday night and again on Monday, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

In total about seven polytunnels – plastic tunnels used like greenhouses for growing fruit and vegetables – were left in ruins.

Thieves also stole a range of tools from a hut belonging to Steve Lewis, the president of the allotment association, on Thursday.

He said it was the third time he had suffered in the last couple of years.

On another occasion his hut was burned down.

“It feels as though we are targeted,” he said. “I’ve spoken to other allotments and they don’t seem to be getting it as badly.

“We’ve put anti-vandal paint on the fences, but what can you do? If they’re determined to do it they will.

“It’s demoralising, especially when you look around and see the damage. I’m often the first one here, so I tend to find it and it’s sad to see.”

He believes someone must know those responsible.

“They need to report it to the police,” he added.

Ali Allen, another of the gardeners, has been left facing repairs to her polytunnel for the second time in a week.

“We just deal with it, but if it keeps on happening it does get you down,” she said.

“I don’t know why they bother, I don’t see what they get out of it.”

The allotment holders are calling for an increase in police patrols in the area.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said anyone with information should contact the Headingley, Weetwood and Kirkstall Neighbourhood Policing Team via 101.

 

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