Thieves steal cash and equipment worth thousands in shocking break-in at allotments

Thieves have stolen thousands of pounds worth of tools and equipment in a raid on an historic allotments site.

Mike Haywood, left, and John Edwards, vice chair and secretary respectively of the Stafford Freemen’s Allotments Trust, counting the cost of a break-in at the Stafford Coton Fields Allotments
Mike Haywood, left, and John Edwards, vice chair and secretary respectively of the Stafford Freemen’s Allotments Trust, counting the cost of a break-in at the Stafford Coton Fields Allotments

A workshop, store and shipping containers were broken into at Coton Fields Allotments in Stafford after the raiders removed a fence panel on the boundary and drove a vehicle in.

They took chainsaws, strimmers, hand tools, an electric bike and scooter, 200 litres of fuel used for the allotment’s digger and a safe containing £200.

“It is very disheartening,” said John Edwards, Secretary to the Stafford Freemen’s Allotments Trust which runs the site and owned the stolen items.

“People have put a lot of effort in here.

“You can’t describe the mentality of those who came here to destroy for personal gain.”

Locks were forced
A safe was kept in this cupboard

The raid at the allotments in Prospect Road took place sometime overnight between 5pm on Monday (January 31) and 8am on Tuesday (February 1).

“It was obviously an overnight job but we don’t know exactly when,” said Mr Edwards who has been a trustee for 20 years.

“We think it was a noisy exercise so it must have been heard by someone.

“The locks on both the workshop and store were forced off with considerable violence.”

Mr Edwards said the on-site store holds seeds for sale, but there was also a safe.

“The safe was in a cupboard,” he said. “They smashed it bits to get it out.”

John Edwards inspects a damaged door
Significant damage was caused

Coton Fields Allotments are among the oldest in the country, having existed since 1206 when King John issued the Royal Charter to his ‘Burgesses’, that is freemen of Stafford.

For centuries the area has been used by the Burgesses to feed their families but now everyone is welcome to become a tenant.

There are 150 plots at the site over an area of 22 acres and the facility is “well used” by some 300 people.

“As far as the community is concerned the allotments have been a valuable asset for a long time,” said Mr Edwards.

“That is why it is so disappointing that it has been damaged in this way.”

Mr Edwards said there is CCTV at the site which will be checked and the incident has been reported to Staffordshire Police.

He is appealing for anyone with information to contact Staffordshire Police on 101.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News