ALLOTMENTS which featured in a BBC drama have been trashed by vandals and arsonists.

Two sheds were destroyed at Ewood allotments, Blackburn, this week and firefighters believe the blazes were started deliberately.

The fires, on Wednesday evening, also damaged greenhouses and ruined vegetables.

Police also said eight sheds at the site off Bolton Road had been broken into since Saturday and four incidents of criminal damage have been reported. Tenants plan to meet to discuss security arrangements and clear the site which was used as a backdrop for the BBC series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

For four years, star of the show, Patricia Routledge, was filmed at the allotments with her teenage side kick in the show, Geoffrey.

Tenants regularly donate produce to local churches and charities. Today Roland Wild, secretary at the allotments, said years of hard work had been destroyed overnight and tenants were devastated.

"I got a telephone call and someone told me one of the sheds had been set on fire," he said. "I came down to have a look and another one was later set on fire.

"The people who own the sheds are shell shocked.

"It's upsetting for everyone because we all put a lot of work in. You get attached to your own site and everyone here is very nice, we are a close knit community." Mr Wild, 71, said he had spoken to one of the tenants whose shed had been targeted. He added: "His father had an allotment here for 30 years and he is devastated."

A police spokesman said the local community beat officer had been to meet tenants and extra patrols would be put in place.

He added: "A number of incidents have been reported to us and officers have been down to speak with allotment holders."