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Vandalism halts town’s urban gardeners amid safety fear

    by Andrea Kirk  
       
   

HORNSEA’S urban gardening has come to an abrupt end after a spate of what is believed to be vandalism aimed at the group’s renovated areas. Plants have been pulled out and some destroyed along with tab tins for cigarette ends provided by Hornsea Urban Gardeners (HUG).

Now HUG group leader June Greensmith says she has reluctantly pulled the plug on the project amid concerns for volunteers’ safety only weeks after the urban gardening army made a positive impression on the town.

The group of volunteer gardeners ramped up their tidying and planting in the run up to the Tour de Yorkshire coming through Hornsea in May, which helped to secure the recently announced best dressed town win.

However, last Saturday, August 4, members became aware of vandalism to the Morrow Avenue garden the Gazette had only photographed in full bloom weeks before. The final straw came on Monday, when the Market Cross on Southgate which HUG had planted and weeded, also suffered vandalism. “I am sure you are now all aware of the vandalism to the Morrow Avenue sunken garden on Friday night. Unfortunately, I also have to report that Southgate Medieval Cross has been vandalised, not sure exactly when, I discovered today plants have been pulled and some destroyed,” said June Greensmith on the group’s Facebook page.

To add insult to injury tins painted by HUG members and placed in areas for cigarette ends were also stolen or destroyed. Someone had cut the tie wraps and squashed the tins and put the cigarette ends in the bin as an act of vandalism. “This, together with the continued theft and destruction of the tab tins provided by HUG at various locations on Newbegin, has meant HUG has had to make a difficult but necessary decision. The continued destruction of HUG property and projects by persons unknown, and the to-date inability of the police in bringing person or persons to account, I have no choice but to abandon any HUG projects being undertaken in a public place for the safety of the volunteers,” said Mrs Greensmith.

HUG has confirmed this will include the two vandalised garden areas, the tab tins, and the sweeping and general tidying of areas around the town they carry out on a frequent basis.

Mrs Greensmith added: “I believe we have shown the people of Hornsea what can be done by committed volunteers to improve Hornsea, but I have to consider their wellbeing. In short, their safety comes first, and whilst someone is causing such wanton destruction by targeting HUG I cannot put the volunteers in any danger.”

She said the group will continue to be available to work with other voluntary groups and in partnership with Hornsea School and Language College, Hornsea Community Primary School, Hornsea Inshore Rescue, St Nicolas Church and other projects as required.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported HUG and promise we may be down right now, but we are not out. We will overcome this setback,” she said.

Hornsea Town Council had recently agreed to work with HUG as they had done previously with Hornsea in Bloom.

Speaking on behalf of Hornsea Town Council, town clerk, Joanna Richardson said: “Hornsea Town Council is concerned to hear about any vandalism in the town, including recently at Morrow Avenue and Southgate. The Southgate Cross was tended for many years by the Hornsea in Bloom volunteers and in more recent times by HUG. It is a huge shame for our town that these areas have been desecrated and extremely distressing for those who have given their time and efforts over previous years and more recently - hopefully the perpetrator(s) can be identified and brought to justice as soon as possible.”

 
         
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