Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Up in Smoke - Again

Sue, whose allotment shed was burned down by vandals a couple of weeks ago has sent in an update and the news isn't good.

She writes:

"After the fire that destroyed the 2 sheds at Dane Valley on 12th and 13th April, two local companies came forward and kindly donated 2 sheds to replace those destroyed.

The companies were RT Bell and Co and O & S sheds of Garlinge. The replacement sheds were put in place today. The work was finished at around 3 pm.

I'm sure you can guess what I am going to tell you. My husband returned to the plot around 6 pm to find the new shed on his plot on fire and the windows of the other shed smashed out as well as the plants trampled.

There has been no improvement in security, no increase in the effectiveness of policing in the area. No measures taken to compensate anyone for these losses. The one offer of help from any council related organisation was from The Windmill Project which was cancelled because of TDC's reluctance to contribute. No wonder. They know the consequences of their own lack of action.

None of you good people, no matter what your position or job seem able or willing to do anything to prevent this continuing."

Ed: I'm appalled by the blatant vandalism and the evidence of an arsonist on the loose. Other than 24-hour policing or security, I don't know what the answer is but I will be making some calls. After Sue's last letter, I did take the matter up with the council (before I was elected) and I know that my concern and Sue's are shared by council officers. I suspect that this is not a matter of will but a question of resources to deal with the matter. When I find out anything further I will send you a separate email.


Norah Batty said...

It seems to me that if the police are not available to help, why don't the allotment holders get together and form a non-aggressive vigilante group ? Why don't you protect your property. A few weeks of inconveniance, taking it in turns to sit in the shed and watch, perhaps with a loaded camera, maybe that will do the trick ? These kids will not want to be photographed. Maybe you can get enough people prepared to hide out in shifts so that there is always a presence of at least a couple of people.
For what it is worth, that is what I did in Hampshire when we had the same problem. It took two weeks, but the slobs were caught and charged with criminal damage.
Good luck to you all, it is all so disheartening.

Anonymous said...

Sue,I am so sorry to hear this further tale of mindless destruction. The probably, little scroats, are very local and prowl the perimeter of your allottment. Norah is spot on! If you can bear it, put another hut up and then watch, record and make citizen's arrests; the little s***s clearly have the taste for arson and you will catch them. Have mobile phone's handy to call Kent's finest. Get names and adresses and organise some public shaming; pictures and details on lamp-posts has been used effectively in the past.

sue said...

Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately I do not fancy confronting a knife or lighter fuel-wielding thug.
Also I pay Council tax so someone paid to confront knife wielding thugs should be doing the job.
Phoning Kents finest is as many reading this will know not as rewarding as it might seem. Police have yet to visit the site in my or my husbands presence.
As for putting another hut up to tempt the vandals again, would anyone care to give us £500 that they know is going up in smoke? And don't tell me the thugs wil have to pay or I might die laughing.

Ken Gregory said...

As a previous labour councillor I was responsible for the selling off of the unused allotments at Manston Road Ramsgate. A condition of the sale was that the proceeds were partly to be ring fenced to provide higher standards at other allotments across thanet.

That rule still applies now (although I am now a conservative councillor). I can assure you that Simon, myself, and others will be continuing to work to provide extra security at all of Thanets allotments.

As an aside, I was subject to an £11k theft at the weekend, and could not praise the police response enough,( and they didn't know I was a councillor!), so they do , sometimes do a good job!


Anonymous said...

Well.....aren't you lucky ! I think you are outnumbered by the thousands of dis-satisfied customers of the Kent police. I suppose someone had to be the lucky recipient of police help eventually. In my experience the police are only interested if there is some sort of high-profile credit in it for them, the lowly allotment holder, or ratepayer etc ranks low these days ! And why do you state 'they didn't even know I was a councillor' ? Like that puts you higher than the rest of us ?
Let's face it, it is a dog eat dog world and we are on our own these days.

Gardfahl said...

I went along today to take some snaps and write another story on the vandalism of Alf's shed and it really is incredible that someone has done this within 3 hours of it being up.

O&S have offered some wood to patch the holes up but I it makes you wonder whether it is worth it when some mindless people could return at any time and set it alight again.

The security really is a joke and the gate is extremely easy to climb.

Here's hoping for no more of this kind of mindless vandalism.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

NOT the Kent Police, but the Thanet Police.
They can catch murderers, but come unstuck against Vandals, ASBO's, drinkers, druggies. Fortunately, there are not that many murders around the place. So, what do they do the rest of the time.
They should never have closed the 'Looney Bins'. There are too many brainless walking Thanet's streets to control properly. Look at the School Busses. I am often outraged by the kids behaviour, but daren't say much, being grossly outnumbered. I've witnessed beat ups, full blown sex, bullying, all in a few minutes on an East Kent 'Stagecoach' bus!

Anonymous said...

I hope The Gazunder will do the story proud Gardfahl and stir a bit to get some action from Kent Police first and TDC next. it is nice to know that the Gazunder gets its news stories from Thanetlife!
Its a pity the Gazunder has to be more careful with other mysterious fires that cause gaps on marine Terrace!

sue said...

Ken, as you are/were so close to the issue, I wonder if you could tell us how much the allotments at Manston Road were sold for and to whom. Also why is the money being paid in stages? When you say "partly" to be ring fenced, what do you mean? How much is ring fenced and where is the remainder going?

Anonymous said...

The issues about the police are unfair, they are societies problems not law enforcement, we have created a pretty grim selfish society which generates all the problems above, note we not the police... they have one hand tied behind there backs, they are frustrated, you cant expect the police to change the society.

Anonymous said...

Society always gets the Police Force it deserves!

sue said...

The Police have shown little interest up until now but I do believe the real issue is security at the site. The police cannot be expected to be ale to control what is now a daily occurence across Thanet allotment sites.
Green houses were smashed last week at Dane valley and there have been recent incidences of Vandalism at Reading street, Northdown and Ramsgate. Behaviour is deteriorating at a rate in this country generally and the only answer in this case is to try and keep them out.

Anonymous said...

Trying to keep them out is defensive; what about catch them and birch them?

Ken Gregory said...


Do not know will find out


sue said...

Thank you.