Friday, July 19, 2024

Christchurch gardens hit by brazen thieves

Christchurch City Council claims security cameras at Mona Vale Garden Park have captured a woman on an electric scooter loading stolen plants into a wheelie bin before fleeing the area.

The Council says it’s one of many brazen thefts at the park over the past six months that have been captured on camera.

Thieves are targeting bedding plants and annuals that are planted for the wider public to enjoy, and even established plants such as roses, ferns and perennials have been dug out and stolen.

Susan Lawrence is a member of the Friends of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and the Mona Vale sub-committee, which helps to lead guided tours and organises volunteers to help the staff.

“We wanted to highlight this growing problem as many locals will feel as deeply about it as we do. We love our involvement there and most of our customers are locals, which says something about how highly they regard the place,” says Ms Lawrence.

Deputy Director Botanic Gardens and Mona Vale, Nicky Brown says the repeated thefts were selfish and dispiriting for the volunteers and staff, who worked hard to keep the gardens looking beautiful for all to enjoy. It was also disappointing for visitors.

“We put new plants in, and they disappear overnight. In the spring, we had all our tulips stolen for the second year in a row, there were up to 150 stems being cut each night,” she said.

“The result is we’re no longer putting tulips in one bedding display because they’ve been repeatedly targeted. It’s blatant, there’s people coming through and helping themselves like they’re doing the shopping.”

Ms Brown said the public’s help was needed to stop the thefts occurring.

“We’re extending a plea for people to come forward if they have any information which might help us identify possible offenders.”

“We haven’t been able to identify the individuals from the footage thus far, and because there are no vehicles involved, we can’t trace a registration number. We’re asking the public to please let us know if they see or notice any suspicious behaviour.”

Anyone with information can get in touch via email

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