Hartlepool village rallies round after floral displays for annual competition are stolen overnight
Villagers have rallied round after thieves stole residents’ floral features put out as part of an annual competition.
People in Greatham were left distraught after waking up to discover someone had stolen a number of planters and hanging baskets overnight that they had gone to the effort of making for the village’s entry in Northumbria in Bloom.
Thieves also tried to steal a bench from outside a house before abandoning it in the middle of the road after seemingly failing to lift it.
The village’s entry in the competition is organised by volunteers of the Greatham in Bloom group with strong support from residents.
Chairman Brian Walker said: “It’s just very sad because people are trying their best to make the community look nice and others have to come and spoil it and upset people.”The thefts happened overnight on Friday, July 16.
Luckily judges for Northumbria in Bloom had visited to assess the village just a day earlier.
Mr Walker said people had got behind the campaign more than usual with the coronavirus pandemic creating a stronger community spirit.
"It’s been a huge community effort more than normal which makes it extra sad,” he said.
"The community has really pulled together throughout Covid, especially the younger ones.
"Hopefully it’s going to last now the roots are in.”
Members of Greatham in Bloom have replaced a number of the items that were stolen.
The group has also thanked residents of the village and Hartlepool, including Hartlepool Big Town Tidy Up, for their messages and offers of support following the thefts.
Mr Walker added: “We have replaced some of the tubs as we had one spare that was rescued from some fly-tipping, and also had a few spare planters.”
Northumbria in Bloom was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.
This year’s winners and presentation of awards are due to take place on September 29.
The thefts have been reported to Cleveland Police and anyone with information is urged to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.