Belfast Telegraph

Children go on the rampage at north Belfast garden

By Linda Stewart

Police are investigating after children broke into a north Belfast community garden and destroyed crops that had been grown by a group of pensioners.

It is understood that some of the youngsters claimed to be "freestyling" between the raised beds after going on the rampage at Grove Community Garden for two nights in a row.

Gardeners said pots were smashed, bricks thrown around and all the apples and pears were torn from the fruit trees and thrown around the car park. Forensic investigators are now taking fingerprints from the polytunnel as part of the probe into the vandalism attack on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Gardener Joan Nicholson (74), who has been working at the garden for two-and-a-half-years, said everyone was very disappointed as they had been preparing their crops to display at an autumn show in Botanic Park this weekend.

"We all work together and we all share the crops. We grow tomatoes, pears, apples, plums, lettuce, scallions and squashes," she said.

"Everyone is very upset, because we have a show on Saturday. We wouldn't have worried if the boys had eaten the fruit but they didn't – they just threw it round the car park."

Helen Tomb, of conservation group TCV which works with the community gardeners, said the attack is being taken very seriously. It came after a number of young people were asked to leave the nearby bowling green on Sunday after arriving on roller blades.

"On Monday night we had reports of people visiting Grove Community Garden, including under 10s, who were jumping from raised bed to raised bed and throwing bricks around," she said. "Then last night (Tuesday) they were in at around 7.30pm or 8pm – they broke some of the pots, threw around garden ornaments, pulled all the apples and pears off the fruit trees and threw them over the car park."

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