CRUEL thieves have stolen garden equipment from a care home for dementia patients.
Staff at Manor Park Care Home, in Catcote Road, Hartlepool, say the garden – which is used daily by the elderly patients – has been targeted by thieves and vandals on several occasions.
The latest theft was of a meerkat statue, sometime between 8pm on Sunday, July 13, and 8am on Monday, July 14.
The crime follows the theft of a bird table and gnome ornaments, and also damage to the perimeter fencing.
Jamie Burnett, personal activities leader, at the care home said he was “disgusted”.
He said: “We keep getting a string of thefts in our garden.
“The latest is that they’ve stolen a meerkat statue.
“We’re always having to repair the fence as well, it’s nearly every other week.
“They just seem to kick and destroy it. It’s shocking.
“It used to be a car park and we turned it into a garden area with plants and ornaments for the residents with dementia.
“The garden area is really good for their relaxation and it just keeps getting spoiled.”
Jamie said the thefts and vandalism has been going on for about six or seven months now and seems to happen more on a weekend.
He said: “I don’t know whether it’s the kids from the area or what.
“There’s still a couple of panels missing from the fence now that we’re going to have to replace again.
“Some of the residents notice what’s been happening, but the vast majority don’t notice.
“It’s still not nice for them though, to come out and see all the panels missing on the fence. They do ask questions.”
Jamie added: “We are just trying to create a nice area for them, but it’s impossible to do.
“We don’t have a large budget and raising the money to replace things all the time is really hard.”
“We build it up and then it just gets destroyed.”
Police have been informed of the latest crime, and officers are urging anyone with any information to come forward.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “An ornamental meerkat was stolen from an enclosed garden at a care home, Manor Park Care Home, on Greenock Road.
“The theft took place between 8pm on Sunday, July 13, and 8am on Monday, July 14.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pc Andrea Charlton on 101.