A volunteer gardener in Bedford is ‘angry and frustrated’ over plants being stolen

A gardening volunteer says he felt “angry, frustrated and sad” after plants were stolen from the grounds of the museum he cares for.

Paul Ferry, who helps look after the community gardens at The Huggins, Bedford, said that just days after putting out 24 plants, most of them had been taken.

He said the plants came directly from another volunteer.

Bedford Borough Council, which owns the site, said it was “very sad” and that its volunteers had put in “a lot of work”.

Paul Ferry said holes had been left where a number of bedding plants had been taken, including salvia and petunias.

“A volunteer brought 24 plants, including salvia and petunia, and we planted them around, and when we arrived the following Monday, all but four of them had been dug up,” Mr Ferry said.

He said it was not the first theft, as an expensive laurel tree is stolen, and the plants they sell regularly disappear.

Three volunteers gardening at The Higgins, Bedford

Volunteers meet regularly for garden maintenance on Monday afternoons

The group of about five volunteers, who gathered Monday afternoon, is entirely self-funded from donations and plant sales, he said.

“It always makes me feel sad, upset and angry,” he said.

“When I see the hard work that has gone into people and then someone comes along and digs them up, and it’s not like they’ve been thrown all over the place, or someone is taking little plants, I get frustrated.”

He said he posted his disappointment on Facebook thinking, “What’s the point?”

Eileen Cronin owns a factory in Bedford

Eileen Cronin said she was happy to donate her own plants for volunteers to either plant or sell

Eileen Cronin, from Bedford, visited the museum to donate the plants.

“I was really horrified when I heard they were getting robbed after all their hard work and that they were volunteers, so I thought, I have some spare plants in my garden.

“I felt so sad that all their hard work had gone to waste, and that people were so terrible that they would come and rob them, it really upset me.”

Factory sale by The Higgins, Bedford

The group holds plant sales at The Higgins to raise money for the group and purchase gardening supplies

A spokeswoman for the authority said: “It is very sad that the plants have been stolen.

“Bedford Borough Council thanks the volunteers who put in so much work in maintaining the space and bringing joy to visitors who use the gardens.

“We hope the perpetrators will think again and encourage anyone with information to come forward,” he added.

Mr Ferry said more volunteers were needed and would be welcome, “to see what we need to do”.

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