Stat­ues stolen in ‘aw­ful’ break-in at gar­den cen­tre

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Anniversary Event - By Rachael Woods

Thieves smashed through a fence at Ten­ter­den Gar­den Cen­tre, steal­ing stat­ues, valu­able spec­i­men trees and hang­ing bas­kets in the raid.

The break-in took place in the early hours of Fri­day morn­ing and part of the stolen haul was dis­cov­ered lit­ter­ing a farmer’s field in Chilm­ing­ton Green.

Sa­man­tha Gil­martin, spokesman for the cen­tre in Reading Street, said: “The break-in was aw­ful, es­pe­cially as we are a fam­ily-owned and run busi­ness. It’s a vi­o­la­tion and ev­ery­one is up­set about it.”

Spec­i­men olive trees that had been spe­cially im­ported from Italy, along with stone stat­ues, were taken from the premises. The haul has an es­ti­mated value of £1,500 to £2,000.

The gar­den cen­tre re­ceived a call from Pullen farm in Chilm­ing­ton Green to say that goods be­long­ing to them had been found bro­ken up and scat­tered in his field. Miss Gil­martin said: “Smash­ing the stat­ues is just a mind­less act.”

The items were iden­ti­fied as they still had price tags at­tached to them.

In a twist, a sign be­long­ing to Bound­ary Farm in Ten­ter­den Road, had been ripped from its fix­ings and was found with the dumped gar­den cen­tre haul and was re­united with its owner, Laura Puxted, after an ap­peal on the “Ten­ter­den and sur­round­ing ar­eas swap or shop” Face­book page.

Hang­ing bas­kets were also stolen from the Swan pub at Wit­ter- sham, although it is not known if this in­ci­dent is re­lated. The bur­glary was dis­cov­ered by a mem­ber of staff around 7am on Fri­day and the gar­den cen­tre says it has CCTV im­ages of the in­ci­dent.

Miss Gil­martin said: “We are re­view­ing CCTV and are very hope­ful about the in­for­ma­tion we have. We are a very close team here and ev­ery­one still feels up­set about what has hap­pened.”

A po­lice spokesman said: “Of­fi­cers are in­ves­ti­gat­ing after it was re­ported that Ten­ter­den Gar­den Cen­tre was bro­ken into be­tween Thurs­day, June 29, and Fri­day, June 30, 2017.

“The in­ci­dent is be­lieved to have oc­curred overnight in Reading Street, where plants and stat­ues have been re­ported stolen.

“In­quiries are on­go­ing and of­fi­cers urge any­one who wit­nessed any­thing sus­pi­cious or who has more in­for­ma­tion to call 01843 222289, quot­ing ref­er­ence ZY/028382/17.

A smashed statue and de­bris re­cov­ered from the Ten­ter­den Gar­den Cen­tre raid

Iron­work stolen in the raid was found in a field

Pic­ture: Wild and Won­der­ful Pho­tog­ra­phy

Ten­ter­den Gar­den Cen­tre

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