YOBS caused extensive damage in an arson attack at an allotment site.
A fed-up allotment holder has called for more police protection after a greenhouse was smashed, produce wrecked and a fire was started in the latest of a string of attacks.
Allotments off Elmwood Road, in Hartlepool, have been targeted by vandals on a “weekly basis” in recent months with sheds and fencing being torched and greenhouses being smashed.
One allotment holder spoke out after the latest attack, which happened on Wednesday, after an 80-year-old gardener discovered his plot had been wrecked by yobs.
A neighbouring plot holder who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted by vandals himself says the allotment community has been left sickened by the latest attack.
He said: “It’s happening on a weekly basis, but something needs to be done about it now because it is out of control.
“The man who has been targeted this week is 80 years of age, he’s had an allotment since he was 16 years old.
“His greenhouse was smashed, the place was set fire to and years of work with prize leeks and onions has been wiped out. He is broken hearted, devastated. His whole life has been taken away with one match.”
The allotment holder added: “The week before a similar thing happened, and there have been regular incidents on top of that. Not a week goes by without someone being targeted.
“It is just mindless vandalism. The people who are doing this don’t get anything out of it.
“If they go into a shop and steal something, or take a radio from a car or burgle someone’s house, they walk away with something.
“But what do they get from this?
“This site is people’s lives. They come here for a cup of tea, they get out of the house, they have a natter.
“It’s like a little community. It’s not just this site, it’s the same across the town. These yobs don’t realise the heartache they are causing.
“We need more help from the police, it would be nice if the PCSOs could include us on their rounds to act as some sort of deterrent.
“It’s getting to the stage where we can’t sleep at night, and dread coming down here in case we have been targeted.”
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Patrols of allotments are carried as often as possible within the constraints of the resources that we have.
“Our Police Community Support Officers are in contact with the various allotment associations within the town and we would always encourage members of the public to report incidents of vandalism to us.
“We can assure people that any reports will be investigated thoroughly.”