Vandals destroying East Ham allotment community

East Ham plot holders say the community around their allotment is being destroyed by vandals who repeatedly damage the site and steal their produce.

Gardeners reported that the last time their allotment in Folkestone Road was vandalised, the thieves smashed the front gate and stole a dozen packets of seeds, three gardening hand tools and two foldable canvass chairs but, while the theft is petty, the damage to the community is serious.

Many of the gardeners are retired and going out to the allotment is a vital form of exercise but the break-ins have left them feeling at risk.

Joe Standon, of Central Park Road, who visits the allotment reguarly, wrote to the Recorder about the incidents, saying he thinks this is “organised looting” and the vandals sell their findings at market stalls and car boot sales for a profit.

Joe also told the Recorder that, after a break-in, it took friends six weeks to persuade one gardener in his 80s back to the allotment and a neighbouring plot holder in his early 70s was put off for eight months.

Joe wrote: “Gate kicked in, door smashed, cupboard turned out... and we’ve since given up storing anything of real value on site. In three years as a plot holder, we’ve been done over a dozen times.”

A Newham Council spokesperson said: “We have a zero tolerance attitude towards crime and anti-social behaviour here and we are extremely proactive in enforcing it.

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“This situation will not be tolerated. We have secured the gate and are replacing it, we are locking the site overnight and ensuring our officers monitor the site closely while on patrol.

“We are working hard with residents to ensure allotments are safe and successful.”