Staff who care for the town’s Park Gardens arrived at work on Monday morning, July 26, to discover around 100 plants and shrubs had been torn out of the ground and kicked around. Other areas had been trampled over and beer bottles left smashed on the ground.
Park Gardens is a remembrance garden given to the town by a local trader, Sidney Park, in memory of his son Herbert who died in the First World War. It is one of two town centre parks run by Stroud Town Council.
Stroud Mayor Andy Read was so upset when he saw the pictures of the damage that he has personally put up a £150 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
"I walk through these lovely gardens every day," he said. "I see the amount of the work that our staff put in and also the pleasure the displays give to hundreds of local families. I’m simply stunned that anyone would stoop so low as to do something like this."
"This is a very open, public site and I’m confident that there is someone out there who saw something or who may know those responsible."
The damage is believed to have been caused on Sunday night. Staff had to spend much of Monday clearing up the damage, estimated at £500. Many of the plants have had to be thrown away. Others have been re-planted, but it will be a while before staff will know how many actually survive.
Greenspaces manager Paul D’Angelo (right) commented: "My staff have transformed these popular gardens in recent years and have taken much pleasure from the generous response of local people. Many have said that this year’s flower display was the best they can remember."
"We take great pride in our work, and so to see hundreds of hours of effort all trashed in a few mindless minutes is devastating. One elderly resident was in tears when she saw the damage this morning."
A similar incident happened three weeks ago when plants were ripped out of 40 displays that had been installed along Dr Newton’s Way as part of the annual Stroud in Bloom campaign.
Local Police Community Support Officer, Colin Drewett, said; “It’s incredibly upsetting that somebody would damage an area that is used by the whole community and we are determined to find out who is responsible.
“We work closely with the council and staff who care for the gardens and together we would like to encourage anyone who has any information about this crime to call us.”
Anyone with any information about the incident is urged to contact Gloucestershire Constabulary on 0845 090 1234 quoting incident number 66 of July 26. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Article added online: Tuesday July 27, 2010
Photos by Paul D’Angelo