Rare plant ‘prob­a­bly stolen to or­der’

Egham News - - NEWS -

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.

Alis­tair Wilson HI147400

Bob Hob­den with the re­main­ing agave.

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