Scrumped! Highfield Park orchard has its crop stolen just before Apple Day
PUBLISHED: 13:24 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:24 12 September 2019
A community park which is part-funded by its own apples has had this year's crop stolen from their trees.
Highfield Park on Cell Barnes Lane uses their orchard to finance the park - which is open for local residents to use free of charge, but does not permit scrumping.
Their big annual event - Apple Day - is scheduled for Sunday, October 6. Every year the community gets together for refreshments and a performance by local bands.
Usually visitors take part in apple bobbing, hunt the apple and other games and have the opportunity to buy apple juice made from the orchard. There are also juicing displays and a visit from a local beekeeper.
The apples were believed to have been stolen at some point over the last few days.
Park manager Richard Bull said: "It is very frustrating and I am very cross about the whole thing. We make apple juice with the apples which we sell and use the proceeds to fund the maintenance of the park.
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"The park is open 24/7. There is a sign asking people not to pick the apples as we use them to make juice but somebody has taken them all from the trees in the last week. The apples were there last week and now they are not. It has been reported to the police."
Highfield Park Trust is now low on funds to pay to keep the park running.
On the Highfield Park Trust Facebook page, many people have expressed their sadness over the theft of the fruit.
Resident Sharon Linney said: "It is terribly sad. Shared to local groups to see if anyone can help."
Hillary Childs uses the park regularly to go for walks with her daughter. She said: "It makes me really sad that people are so selfish. Highfield Park is beautifully looked after and free for everyone to enjoy, but they need funds to maintain it and the apple picking is a lovely community event that's fun for everyone.
"This has spoiled that and taken away valuable funds from the trust to maintain the park. There are signs so it wasn't an accident, and to take that many must have involved some organisation. We love the park and the orchard."
Highfield Park Trust is a registered charity and donations can be made at the visitors' centre in Highfield Park.