Police issue free advice and equipment to allotment holders hit by arson

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Gardeners on an arson-hit allotment site in Hartlepool are being urged to protect their plots by taking advantage of free crime prevention advice and equipment.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Allotment Service and Community Safety Team, Cleveland Police and Cleveland Fire Brigade have all joined forces to improve security at Thornhill Allotments.

As part of a campaign called Operation Scarecrow, police cadets have received training from Victim Services Officer Lorna Hilton from the Community Safety Team and they have been touring the site to provide advice to tenants.

The third and final phase of Operation Scarecrow will take place on Friday from 4.30-6pm when the cadets will be giving away free shed locks, ideal for protecting equipment such as tools and lawn mowers.

Kate Ainger from the council’s Allotment Service said: “We would urge gardeners to come down to their plots and take advantage of the help that is being provided via Operation Scarecrow.

“If gardeners from other sites wish to come along then they will be more than welcome.”

PC Steph Button of Hartlepool Neighbourhoods said: “Offences of arson, theft, criminal damage and burglary at allotments are a continuing problem in the area and tend to increase in the spring and summer as people bring equipment and belongings onto their allotment sites.

“We are working with the police cadets to improve awareness amongst the allotment holders of the vulnerabilities the allotment sites have and to provide them with alarmed locks for their allotment sheds.”

Cleveland Fire Brigade representatives will also be present on Friday.