Vandals wreck stunning floral displays and leave a trail of damage in Harborough town centre
Police are now looking at CCTV footage to try to catch the offenders
Vandals have wrecked stunning floral displays and left a trail of damage in Market Harborough town centre last night (Tuesday).
The culprits turned over two huge planters at the corner of The Square and St Mary’s Road - along with four smaller tubs on St Mary’s Road.
The “idiots” also pushed over signs and bins as well as showering broken glass around on the path and in the road.
The vandals are now being hunted by police as officers study vital footage snapped by council and business CCTV cameras deployed on The Square.
Stunned Barbara Tallis, the chair of Harborough in Bloom, said last night’s shocking incident has come as a “massive blow” less than three weeks before the town is judged in the East Midlands in Bloom competition on Monday July 12.
“It is just unbelievable – it is shocking, " she added.
“Words totally fail me at a time like this,” Barbara told the Harborough Mail this afternoon.
“What do these people get out of turning over our beautiful planters and tipping them into the road?
“What goes on in their heads?
“I can’t for a second begin to understand their mentality.
“Our brilliant volunteers put so much effort and so much time – as well as great expertise and pride – into setting up these enchanting displays.
“And then these criminals come along and think it’s a good idea to wreck them.
“It really does beggar belief.
“I just hope that they get caught by the police and are made to pay for their idiotic actions.”
She said police have told her that they are now busy scrutinising film taken by CCTV cameras on The Square in a bid to catch the perpetrators.
“These people need to be arrested, prosecuted, hauled into court and punished. They cannot be allowed to get away with this criminal behaviour,” insisted Barbara.
“Our big blue planters are huge.
“They are a metre square and must weigh getting on for a ton.
“They are a proper forklift job they are that big.
“One or two people didn’t push those over.
“It must have taken a gang to do it – and it must have taken some time as well.
“And that makes it even more likely that they were caught red-handed on camera.
“They obviously took some shifting – and they all ended up in the road.
“I’ve heard that this might have been done by football fans pouring out of the pubs after the England match last night.
“But, of course, we don’t know for certain at this stage who’s behind this latest wave of trouble in our lovely town.
“I am appealing to the police, though, to put on extra patrols in the town centre and to give us a more visible presence.
“I’m sure this wouldn’t have happened if there had been police patrolling in the town last night.”
She said her resilient band of indomitable volunteers have gone straight back out today and replanted the exquisite displays.
“We are not going to let these people beat us.
“We are never going to let them win,” declared Barbara.
“It’s very demoralising and disappointing coming just before the East Midlands in Bloom judging next month.
“And this comes just after we had 30 or so bedding plants stolen from our fantastic displays on The Square here.
“But we’ll just get on with it, we won’t give in.
“I’d also like to thank the council works teams for retrieving the planters out of the road and clearing up the mess.
“We’re very grateful for their efforts.”
Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrats on Harborough council, told the Mail: “There is only word for this type of behaviour – disgusting.
“I only hope the CCTV cameras have caught them in the act.
“This is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Harborough in Bloom volunteers who do such an amazing job helping to make our town so attractive.
“This sort of outrageous attack is the last thing they deserve – and my heart goes out to them.
“I would like all our councillors to be able to sit down with our new head of police, Inspector Jim Purdie, and talk about the growing issues and problems we are facing right across Harborough.
“We have had a relentless tide of anti-social behaviour, heavy drinking, drug-taking and vandalism in our towns over the last few months and it’s simply not good enough.”
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman today said: “Police are making further enquiries following a number of incidents of criminal damage in Harborough which they suspect are linked.
“The damage is reported to have occurred overnight when plant pots, signs and bins have been pushed over along St Mary's Place.
“Glass was also found smashed along the route.”
She added: “Officers are making further enquiries into the reports, which will include reviewing nearby council and business CCTV.
“Anyone who may have any information about the damage can contact police on 101 quoting 21*348449.”