THIEVES have stolen hanging baskets created by recovering addicts at Leeds’s centre for homeless people, St George’s Crypt.
The theft of the blooms has hit the Crypt’s entry into the Britain in Bloom contest.
The Crypt in Great George Street, near Leeds General Infirmary, has undergone a refurbishment which included creation of relaxing gardens around the centre beneath St George’s Church.
Crypt clients, many of them recovering from drink and drug addiction, and rescued from homelessness, pitched in and helped cultivate the gardens for entry into this year’s “Britain in Bloom” contest.
Three large hanging baskets were filled with attractive plants and flowers and were an important part of the display.
Crypt fundraising diector Martin Patterson said: “They were wicker containers and they’d been filled with a collection of seasonal flowers.
“They were hanging from trees in the Crypt grounds. Somebody has had to jump over the fence to get them. You couldn’t reach them, so someone has consciously done it.
“What is so depressing is that they had been made by people who were previously homeless and suffering from addictions, and to steal from people like that is a pretty despicable thing to do.
“We will replace them but it will mean using money which at them moment is hard to come by. It was a very mean act.”
The theft occurred between about 10pm on Tuesday and 6.30am on Wednesday.
Police said: “We are aware of an incident of theft at St George’s Crypt in Leeds overnight between 14th and 15th June and would urge anyone with information that will assist us in catching the culprits to contact the City NPT on 0113 2413101.”
The Crypt has been helping homeless people and others in need since 1930 when it opened its doors as a temporary measure to help victims of the Great Depression.
Today it also runs two satellite hostels for people suffering and fighting addictions. It has a programme to enable people to re-take their places in society, and works in partnership with Leeds colleges and businesses to provide education and find jobs.
Its work has expanded to include assistance to families suffering domestic violence.
The Crypt remains a beacon of hope for homeless people, providing warmth, shelter, food and companionship for people in need.