Appeal on theft from council

AN appeal has been issued over the theft of topiary worth almost £250 from outside a newly-opened coffee house in Hartlepool.

Three boxwood shrubs fashioned into the shape of a dolphin, a flower and a duck have been taken over the last week from Inspirations Coffee House in Tanfield Road.

The theft of one shrub occurred overnight Sunday to Monday and the others were taken between closing time on Wednesday evening and the next morning.

In each case, it is believed that thieves climbed over a boundary fence before uprooting the shrubs – each worth £81 – from their pots.

Security and surveillance at the site has now been stepped up and the thefts have been reported to Cleveland Police. Anyone who saw anything suspicious or who has information about the whereabouts of the shrubs is asked to call (01642) 326326.

The coffee house opened last month and is being run by Hartlepool Borough Council as part of its strategy to generate additional income at a time of unprecedented Government budget cuts.

Karen Oliver, the council’s facilities management manager, said: “Mindless thefts like this are a blow but we won’t left them dampen our enthusiasm.”

A new Inspirations Garden Centre shop and a series of “inspirational gardens” is also planned fro the site.