Allotments thefts rise as credit crisis causes vegetable crimewave
By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 4:39PM BST 26/06/2008

Allotments have been targeted by vegetable thieves, as more people grow their own produce in response to the credit crisis.
Allotments have enjoyed a boom few years, with many people seeing their gardening as a way of saving on fruit and vegetable bills.

However, it would now seem that thieves are taking advantage of this green revolution.

Rhubarb, potatoes and onions were part of a haul stolen from an allotment in Cheslyn Hay, near Cannock, while other sites in the region have also reported thefts of produce.

Allan Rees, chairman of the National Society of Allotments and Leisure Gardening, is concerned the problem could get worse as the economic outlook worsens.

"Families are getting poorer and this is one way of putting food on the table," he said. "I believe they are being sold on. Thieves stole potatoes from my own plot and put the stalks back in place so it was two or three days before I noticed."

Lynda Foster, of the Cheslyn Hay Allotments and Cottage Gardeners Association, which manages the site, said: "It's heart-breaking."

Kelvin Brittain, a 52-year-old security officer who has a plot in Bushbury, Wolverhampton, said two wheelbarrow loads of rhubarb and beetroot had recently been plundered from a neighbouring plot.

Security has recently been beefed up at a West Bromwich allotments after a £6,000 project launched in the wake of a spate of thefts. ... ewave.html