When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Vandals wreck Burnley community garden
VANDALS have wrecked a community garden leaving volunteers devastated.
The yobs targeted the Incredible Edible project on recreation ground off Disraeli Street, Burnley.
They ripped up flowers and plants and snapped a seven-foot tall Sunflower.
The scheme was launched almost 12 months ago to encourage people to grow their own vegetables in public spaces.
Volunteer Margaret Smith, 69, said she wasn’t sure if the group could continue after the incident.
She said: “I don’t know why anyone would target something as lovely as this.
“We had wigwams put up with beans growing inside them and a seven foot tall sunflower - it was gorgeous.
“Everything has been snapped and pulled apart and just left there. It is totally devastating.”
Margaret, who lives on nearby Thirlmere Avenue, said the attack was particularly upsetting as her husband Peter, 68, who is chairman of the group, is currently undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma.
She said: “It would have taken a lot of effort to take apart some of the stalks.
“One lady approached me in the street and said she had found part of the sunflower in her garden.
“We’ve tidied the plot up a bit but I’m finding it hard at the moment. We’ll continue what we’re doing into the winter but things like this don’t give you much hope for the future.
“It’s hard without Peter to carry all the tools and equipment. This has knocked the wind from my sails a bit.
“How long we can keep it up for I don’t know. We’re trying to do good for the community, we’re off the beaten track.
“This is a big blow.”
Avril Hesson, from Burnley’s Friends of the Earth group, said she could not understand the motivation behind the attack.
She said: “It is such a rotten thing to do. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d taken the produce home and eaten it, as that’s what it is intended for.
“But to just destroy it and make it of no use to anyone, it just seems wrong.
“Lots of people are rather annoyed.
"Incredible Edible has been a great success in Todmorden but somebody in Burnley won’t give them a chance. Shame on them.”
Former Queensgate councillor Darren Reynolds, who helped residents set up the group last October, described the incident as a ‘tragedy’.
He said: “Projects like this mean a lot to the volunteers who give up their time, and to the people who benefit from it.
“It’s always a tragedy when something like this happens, especially given the improvements it has made.
“This is the sort of thing that is a serious matter locally.
“I would say to the members of the group who are so disappointed at this crime, that only through their continued efforts can areas like Burnley improve.
“Their good spirit will win eventually and the vandals will lose.”
Incredible Edible groups have sprung up across the country in recent years, working with public authorities to produce free fruit and veg for use in local communities.
Todmorden’s branch of the group has proved particularly successful, promoting food-based learning and securing lottery grants to expand its work.
A similar scheme is also up and running in Rossendale.