Veg theft from community garden ‘due to help yourself sign’

FILE PICTURE - Pollok Park gardener Paul Hilton inspects the damage at the vegetable allotment after a raid which saw thousands of vegetables stolen. September 19, 2017. See Centre Press story CPVEG; A suspected raid at a garden plot where thousands of vegetables were stolen could have been a confusion which saw members of the public help themselves. Gardening staff were shocked when they discovered that their winter harvest, including carrots, leeks, turnips, and onions, had disappeared. It is thought that almost half a tonne of vegetables were taken over the weekend. Staff believe the raid at Glasgow's Pollok Park must have been premeditated due to the huge number of crops that were stolen. But a member of the public has told how they were visiting Pollok House on Sunday for Doors Open Day when they saw "between 15 and 20 people" in the plot.
FILE PICTURE - Pollok Park gardener Paul Hilton inspects the damage at the vegetable allotment after a raid which saw thousands of vegetables stolen. September 19, 2017. See Centre Press story CPVEG; A suspected raid at a garden plot where thousands of vegetables were stolen could have been a confusion which saw members of the public help themselves. Gardening staff were shocked when they discovered that their winter harvest, including carrots, leeks, turnips, and onions, had disappeared. It is thought that almost half a tonne of vegetables were taken over the weekend. Staff believe the raid at Glasgow's Pollok Park must have been premeditated due to the huge number of crops that were stolen. But a member of the public has told how they were visiting Pollok House on Sunday for Doors Open Day when they saw "between 15 and 20 people" in the plot.
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It sounds like the plot of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit where a host of vegetables disappear overnight.

But in the case of a vegetable “raid” from the walled garden at Pollok House in Glasgow, the likely culprit was not a giant Were-Rabbit, but more likely members of the public enjoying the 2017 Doors Open Day at the stately home.

However the incident on Sunday, which left the whole vegetable plot decimated, appears to be the result of a misunderstanding over a notice which said “Help yourself”.

Glasgow City Council, who reported the incident to the police, say the sign referred to a small amount of surplus vegetables placed in a basket.

Pollok House, an 18th century mansion run by the National Trust for Scotland, was open to the public for Doors Open Day, which lets people see round a number of buildings.

Stevie Burns, manager at the garden run by the council, was convinced there must have been a planned raid due to the large number of items taken and the amount of damage.

However a member of the public said he saw “between 15 and 20 people” in the vegetable plot, aged from around four years of age to pensioners ripping out vegetables.

“There were lots of different families, couples etc there doing this.

“At the time, we thought it was ridiculous the council would allow this with no staff on site, when they could have easily given the surplus to homeless shelters and people in need.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The garden staff at Pollok Country Park regularly put veg into a basket, which the public can take away. There is a sign which clearly states the veg in the basket can be taken away.

“The staff had put the sign out as they regularly do. We had given veg to Pollok House and the veg in the basket would otherwise have perished if we didn’t offer in the basket, the sign has been in place for a few weeks with no issues. Perhaps with it being doors open day at Pollok House and our sign to take vegetables from the basket it appeared people could simply help themselves to what was in the ground which has resulted in considerable damage that in no uncertain terms results in vandalism that staff have had to deal with.”

Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, which runs Doors Open Day in Glasgow, did not want to comment.