Dismay after knitted post box topper is torched by vandals

PUBLISHED: 15:24 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:24 05 December 2018

Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.

Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.


A knitted pillar box cover promoting a charity fundraising event has been torched by arsonists.

Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.

Festive woollen post box toppers created by volunteers have been stationed across St Albans and Harpenden to raise awareness of the Polar Bear Plunge on Tuesday, January 1.

The topper located in Sun Lane, Harpenden, was set on fire overnight between Monday and Tuesday.

Catherine Jones, owner of Flowers by Catherine who sponsored the topper, said: “I am upset and disappointed that something with such a positive ethos has been turned into an act of vandalism.”

Catherine said she had last seen the decorative post-box at 9.40pm on Monday, but by the following day all that was left were ashes.

Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.

A spokesperson for Herts Police confirmed that they were called at 10.33pm on December 3 to reports of a pillar box on fire in Sun Lane, Harpenden.

Two offenders were seen placing an item on top of the post box, before setting it alight and running away.

The first man is described as white, wearing a black beanie, black jacket and light trousers. The second man was described as mixed race, with a ponytail, black jacket and blue jeans.

Polar Bear Plunge organiser Clare Suttie said: “It was a beautiful topper – a real work of art. I am fuming. The knitting team are all working on various bits - around the clock – so we can replace the Sun Lane topper as soon as possible.

Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.

“I am really hoping people will look out for all 23 of the toppers, keep focused on the positive aspects of our project and consider making a donation.”

The annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge takes place at the St Albans Sub Aqua Club on Cottonmill Lane.

The plunge is raising money for The Ollie Foundation, Earthworks and The Counselling Foundation, and more than 400 people have taken the brave plunge into freezing cold water since 2016.

You can scan and donate from the pillar boxes using your phone or visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/PolarBearPlunge2019

Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.Knitted pillar box topper in St Albans.

Any witnesses to the post box arson are asked to contact Hertfordshire police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting ISR 853 of December 3.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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