Sneak thief raids flowerbeds at Redbourn MOT centre

Redbourn MOT Centre's new garden

Redbourn MOT Centre's new garden - Credit: Photo supplied

A BRAZEN thief has been captured on CCTV stealing flowers and shrubs from an award-winning village garden in the early hours of the morning.

CCTV footage of the garden outside the Redbourn MOT Centre

CCTV footage of the garden outside the Redbourn MOT Centre - Credit: Photo supplied

The owners of Redbourn MOT Centre on the High Street have dubbed him “the pansy thief” after he was filmed at 2am removing his high visibility work jacket after parking at the business and then uprooting pansies and shrubs.

Neal Smith in front of the Redbourn MOT Centre where flowers and shrubs were stolen from the display

Neal Smith in front of the Redbourn MOT Centre where flowers and shrubs were stolen from the displays - Credit: Archant

Owners of the family-run business Jacqueline, 57, and Richard Smith, aged 60, and their son Neal, 33, have slated the thief as “petty and ridiculous” after he spent 20 minutes ripping out plants from their recently revamped front garden.

Bizarrely, the man ducked behind a wheel of his saloon to avoid being spotted by motorists driving past the centre, located off the roundabout near the entrance to the village.

Redbourn MOT Centre was highly commended in the business gardens section of the Redbourn in Bloom competition last year.

And the village jointly won gold in the small town (2,501-6,000 residents) category of last year’s Anglia in Bloom awards.

Neal said that before the family opened the premises in August last year, the garden had been very overgrown. So, at considerable effort and expense it was cleared and landscaped with slate stone, flowers and shrubs.

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But on May 22 those blossoming plants were stolen from the centre.

Neal said the man could be seen on CCTV, parking near the garden at about 2am.

He explained: “This guy gets out, takes his fluorescent jacket and reflective vest off and puts them in the boot of his car, and then helps himself.

“It’s all caught on camera. We call him the ‘pansy thief’ as there were shrubs and a load of pansies.

“He was ducking down behind the wheel every time a car came past – it looks quite funny. There must be a lot of pressure from someone at his home to make a nice garden.”

Neal added: “We are disappointed that someone would stoop to that level to steal some pansies and shrubs. It’s frustrating for us as we have done a lot of work.”

Jacqueline said she had contacted the parish council and asked it to alert local Police Community Support Officers about the theft.

She described the garden raid as “ridiculous” adding: “We made it look pretty, and it enhances the entrance to Redbourn. We had numerous comments from residents about the work.”

Jacqueline said that about £60 worth of plants including rhododendrons had been stolen and she has recently starting replanting the garden.

She added: “It seems so petty, and the way he was doing it at 2am was barmy.”

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