Allotment holders feel 'violated' after 27 sheds broken into

Lindsey Almkvist enjoying her allotment at Bluebell North in Norwich

Lindsey Almkvist enjoying her allotment at Bluebell North in Norwich - Credit: Lindsey Almkvist

An allotment holder has spoken of feeling "violated" after 27 sheds and greenhouses were broken into by "professional" thieves.

The police and Norwich City Council confirmed they received reports multiple sheds at the council's Bluebell North allotment site on The Avenues in Norwich had been broken into during the night on Friday, June 25.

A council spokesperson said very little had been taken, but damage was done to the sheds when locks were forced open.

It said the authority was working to repair a breach in the fence to make sure the site was secured, and wanted to remind tenants to lock the gates, take home anything of high value and clearly mark and identify their belongings.

Lindsey Almkvist, who has held an allotment at Bluebell North for seven years, said the problem had got worse over lockdown.


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She said allotment holders had counted 27 of their sheds or greenhouses broken into during what looked like a "professional operation" on the night of June 25.

The allotment site is one of the council's biggest, with over 500 plots and nearly 200 on the waiting list

The allotment site is one of the council's biggest, with over 500 plots and nearly 200 on the waiting list - Credit: Lindsey Almkvist

"These thieves clearly weren't opportunists", she said. "The locks and hinges had been carefully jemmied and bits of wood had been removed to give them access. It looked quite professionally done.

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"Most of us have never had our sheds broken into before, but I've heard of this happening at different allotment sites across city in the last year or so.

"I don't know if people are trying to make money by finding things to sell on, but on this occasion they hardly even took anything. There were strimmers and other tools just left behind. It's all very weird and unsettling."

Vegetables

She said there wasn't much value to steal in her greenhouse - just a few vegetables - but that she and others felt "violated" knowing someone had gone through all their things - Credit: Lindsey Almkvist

"You just feel violated," she explained. "It's the thought that people are going through your things at night. 

"There's a lot of elderly people who use that site and rely on it for their mental health, and sometimes I'm there quite late at night watering my vegetables.

Lindsey Almkvist said the allotment sites were great for people's mental health

Lindsey Almkvist said the allotment sites were great for people's mental health, and she'd hate for anyone to be put off visiting because of break-ins - Credit: Lindsey Almkvist

"I know you're supposed to challenge people snooping around if you spot them, but that's an unreasonable expectation given how intimidating it can be when you're there on your own."

Norfolk police said officers had investigated all lines of enquiry but that no suspects were identified and the investigation was closed.

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