■ Bill Mason pictured on his stripped-bare allotment in Littlehampton, as reported in the Daily Mail.
DESPICABLE was the one word that sprang to mind when I read of the pensioner robbed of his entire vegetable crop on his allotment.
It’s hardly surprising that Bill Mason, 76, was on the verge of tears when he discovered he had become a victim of sophisticated plot plunderers.
The thieves heartlessly stripped his allotment in Littlehampton, Sussex, of potatoes, spring onions, beetroot, cabbages, lettuces, celeriac and rhubarb.
Like many plot-holders, Bill – pictured above – tended his ground up to four or five hours a day, relying on his hard work to produce sufficient food to last him and his partner through the winter.
Bill’s heartfelt reaction: “They have taken my livelihood away for no reason at all. It is part of my pension – that’s what hurts; I don’t do it for fun.”
For 18 years Bill has lovingly looked after his allotment and is now calling on the local council to heighten security and to install CCTV cameras. For their part, the council have apologised for the “distress and upset” the theft had caused. Police, too, are on the case.
One wonders what goes through the head of such criminals who, without any thought for the outcome of their actions, went ahead, pulled up around £100 worth of produce and disappeared.
Sadly, it seems the robbing of fresh veg on plots across the UK is a growing menace. In Ipswich in April, thousands of pounds in equipment was stolen, then villagers in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, suffered a series of strawberry and raspberry thefts, while over in Canvey Island, Essex, plot-holders reluctantly gave up their favourite pastime after their allotments were repeatedly attacked by merciless thieves.
It’s not an easy problem to overcome. Installing fences and lighting doesn’t come cheap and nor does employing a security guard.
Let us just hope that whoever is planning a similar raid on his or her local allotment sits down and thinks long and hard about the misery and distress that such actions generate.
Victim Bill Mason will surely concur.