An allotment site in Seaton Delaval has been targeted by thieves.
Items worth about £400 in total were taken from Valerie Ellis’ plot in Seaton Terrace on the evening of July 23.
She said the offenders used bolt cutters to get through the Heras fencing and the lock on the shed. They took a petrol lawnmower that was only a year old, a generator, a couple of pans and kettles, a stove and children’s gardening items.
Other plots suffered from thefts and vandalism earlier this year and she believes action needs to be taken to improve the situation at the site. Seaton Valley Council has written to plot holders about its plans for the site and they have the opportunity to put forward their views.
The former Seaton Valley councillor said: “I feel sickened that this has happened.
“The site was buzzing with people a few years ago, but there are quite a few plots now that are derelict and vacant and I think the council could do more to improve security and make the allotments more attractive to people.”
The authority said in its letter that the other issue at the site is the ‘increasing number of confrontations between plot holders and dog owners who use the site as a throughway to the adjoining fields’.
It plans to divide the existing site into three – they would be called Seaton Terrace, Victoria Close and Dartford Close.
Gates leading to each individual site would have a separate lock and each plot holder would only receive one key for their specific site.
The main gate, which is more often than not left open, would be converted into a self-closing gate that would be used for both pedestrian and vehicle access.
The Seaton Terrace site and Dartford Close site would use the same existing entrance gate, but would be divided by two further secure gates within the complex.
Victoria Close would have a single gate, which would only access this site. There would be no access through the Victoria Close site to the adjoining Dartford Close site.
The current pedestrian access to the site at the rear of Heartburn Terrace would be fenced off.
In addition, an Allotment Watch scheme is being set-up at the site.