Fury as Newport floral contest plants are ripped out
Volunteers say they have been left outraged after a spate of vandalism incidents in Newport.
Planters were emptied into the road, flowers were torn out of their beds and trampled and hanging baskets were deliberately removed in Newport across two days.
Newport in Bloom is appealing for help to stamp out the acts of vandalism which they say are jeopardising the town's chances ahead of the Heart of England floral competition, for which judges will visit on July 16.
Daphne Rogers, from the group, said: "Having installed the summer planters and hanging baskets over the weekend, members of Newport in Bloom were appalled to discover that the two large barrier planters outside Longford Playgroup [on the High Street] had been tipped over and emptied into the road during the early hours of June 6.
"This happened in the early hours of the morning and it would almost certainly have required more than one person to push the planters over.
"That same evening two small hanging baskets were also removed from outside The Den on St Mary's Street and deposited on the church wall.
"This was no accident. Some great effort would have been required to cause the planters on the barrier to tip and more than one person may well have been involved.
"Unfortunately CCTV was unable to capture any images of the incident so Newport in Bloom is appealing to the public to contact the police on 101, quoting incident number 95-S of June 6, if they have any information which may lead to the identification of those involved. It is believed that the damage was caused before 1.30am.
"Fortunately, and thanks to the swift action of two TWS employees, who noticed the mess and cleared the plants off the road before the traffic started to build up, volunteers were able to save most of the plants and the planters were back in place by 8.30am."
The next day, vandals hit again at the play area on Wrekin Avenue.
"Plants which were funded by Telford and Wrekin, Newport Town Council, Newport in Bloom and residents of Wrekin Avenue themselves were trampled down and torn out of beds", Ms Rogers said.
"Two whole sacks of broken plants were cleared away. As this happened at some time between 11am and 6pm, it is unlikely that this was a drunken rampage and it may even have been children who were responsible for the damage.
"With the school holidays approaching, parents are requested to ensure that they know where their children are and what they are up to, as this was an act of criminal damage. Again, we appeal to residents who may have witnessed the vandalism at Wrekin Avenue to contact the police, quoting incident number 109-S of June 8.
"This year Newport will be entering the RHS Heart of England in Bloom competition again and we have an excellent record of receiving gold awards. As a town, we need all our residents to pull together and help to ensure that the town is kept clean and tidy and the marvellous floral displays are left intact."