Rare plant ‘probably stolen to order’
A MAN has had a 40-yearold plant that was given to him as a cutting by his late brother-in-law stolen from his front garden.
Ben Hobden discovered one of his Agave Americana Marginata plants had been stolen from his home in Goring Place, Staines, when he awoke in the early hours of Saturday November 15.
After spending 45 minutes searching for the spiky plant – which originates from North America – he called police, but was told they would be unable to investigate the theft unless he had CCTV footage.
The 3ft plant, which was housed in a tall square clay pot, is part of the cactus family and is distinctive with its wavy green leaves with creamy yellow margins.
Mr Hobden, who lives with his wife Sue, believes more than one person took the plant, due to its weight and awkwardness, and says it is worth more than £200.
“I think it would have been stolen to order,” said the 67-year-old.
“Unless someone local saw it and thought they would have an architectural plant.
“I imagine someone is doing a garden for someone and might want that for it. We have an outside light in the front garden and that’s on all night. So whoever took it was quite brazen – they weren’t in the dark.
“I was, at first, disappointed. Now I just hope whoever has it knows how to look after it and cares for it. We are talking about a specialist plant. You don’t see them that big for sale.”
The plant was given to Mr Hobden 40 years ago as a cutting from his brother-inlaw, Ray Watchett, who died five years ago.
“It makes it more personal because of that,” said Mr Hobden. “I would love to have it back. I have ill-feeling for the person who stole it, but if it’s been sold on then I have no illfeeling for someone who has got it. I’ve got the other one, so I suppose that’s something.”
Anyone with information on the theft should call Surrey Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Bob Hobden with the remaining agave.