RAIDERS have broken into allotments in Hartlepool.
The crooks targeted the plots in Brierton Lane allotment site in one night and used what police believe were bolt cutters to break padlocks securing the sites.
Once inside the perpetrators stole tools and gardening equipment.
Allotment holders said around twice as many plots were broken into than the 12 officially reported to police.
Victim Paul Kelly, 50, was broken into for the fourth time in as many years.
But despite the intruders breaking several locks they did not take anything.
Paul, a window fitter, said: “You just get sick of it.
You get very frustrated having to fork out for new locks especially with Christmas coming.
“It’s just the damage the cause. I’m worried bout my livestock.”
Another plot holder Keith Robson is worried the criminals will come back.
He said: “I would like to see lights along the path and some cameras but nothing is done about it.”
Another victim, Arthur Chapman, added: “The worst part is the vandalism to the doors.
“We can’t be here all the time because we have got families.”
Allotment holder Harry Bradley added: “When you have been here for 40 or 50 years you get used to it. I think it’s terrible but we just have to get on with it.”
Holders say very little appears to have been stolen but the crooks took some took brass locks with them while leaving stainless steel ones.
Today Hartlepool Police launched an appeal for witnesses, or anyone with ay information about the break-ins, to come forward.
A police spokeswoman said: “Officers are appealing for information after a number of allotments were broken into in Hartlepool.
“A total of twelve allotments were broken into between 5pm on Thursday, December 13, and 9am on Friday, December 14, at the allotments on Brierton Lane.
“Padlocks were broken with what is believed to be a bolt cutter and items such as tools were taken.”
Anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area around the allotments between these times is asked to contact Detective Constable Karen McManus, of Hartlepool CID, on the non-emergency 101 number, or Crimestoppers anonymously on (0800) 555111.