MEAN thieves have stolen plants and ripped up others at a youth project aimed at reviving the gardens at a suburb’s community centre.

A group of 15 teenagers have spent two weeks preparing and refurbishing the overgrown raised plots around the residents’ hub in Mill Hill, Blackburn.

Yesterday morning they came back to the centre to find several plants had been stolen while others including a rose bush by the front entrance had been pulled up and trampled into the ground.

The team of young people had been working on a National Citizen Service project at Mill Hill Community Centre organised by Blackburn Rovers Community Trust which was also raising money for mental health charity Lancashire Mind.

Team leader Andrew Mathison said: "It's really depressing when the young people had put so much work in.

"But they cam back and set about repair all the damage with new plants."

Community centre manager Sue Freear (CORR) said: "The young people had done a rally good job on the raised gardens around the centre.

"They had become really overgrown ,. The peiple on the proejct had been to garden centres to get plants donated and then this happens

"It's so mean-spirited to steal these plants. They young people just went out and got some more plants and flowers and did the work all over again.

"They have been fantastic."

Cllr Maureen Bateson, Blackburn with Darwen Council young persons boss, said: "It is disheartening, distressing and disappointing, It's blow not just for the young people themselves but for the local residents as well."

Freya Buckley, our National Citizen Service for Blackburn Rovers Community Trust said: “It’s obviously a real disappointment to learn that the young people’s hard work at Mill Hill Community Centre has disappeared without trace, but despite the initial shock, I think that they’re taking it as something of a compliment that someone deemed it worth taking!

“The group seem collectively determined to right this wrong and they hope that in the last couple of days of their NCS project, they can come up with something even better and brighter than what they’d already installed."