A Hartlepool community allotment project has been the victim of 'soul destroying' theft and vandalism.
A quantity of timber worth around £200 was recently stolen from the Hartlepool Borough Council-led Waverley Terrace Allotment project.
In addition, staff arrived last Friday to discover that raised planter beds had been damaged in an apparent attempt to steal more wood.
People who work on the project include those with disabilities or those who are in ill health, vulnerable or disadvantaged, and helps unemployed people to do voluntary work improving their chances of finding a job.
Jon Wright, the council’s Promoting Change Transforming Lives project co-ordinator, said: “We were shocked by the first theft but it was an even bigger blow to find that we had been targeted again.
“It is soul destroying for the volunteers to come and find that their good work is being undone by the mindless actions of a few people.”
Councillor Kevin Cranney, chair of Hartlepool council’s Regeneration Services Committee, added: “The Waverley Terrace Allotment is a tremendous project and I would urge residents living in the vicinity to help us protect it by acting as our eyes and ears and reporting any suspicious activity to the police on 101.”
Allotments at Thornhill Gardens have also suffered a series of break-ins on Saturday, May 26.
The police recovered a number of items stolen including a television, tools and a hose pipe and have appealed for help to trace the owners.
Three males aged 18, 21 and 23 have been arrested on suspicion of burglary and have been released under investigation while inquiries continue.