Statues stolen in ‘awful’ break-in at garden centre
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
Tenterden Garden Centre