Thieves steal equipment from St Albans community allotment

Chief executive of CDA Herts Kate Belinis, project leader Nadia Sangra-Jones and childminder Helen K

Chief executive of CDA Herts Kate Belinis, project leader Nadia Sangra-Jones and childminder Helen King with children of little eden in the allotment project of the community garden scheme - Credit: Archant

Devastated childminders who set up an allotment two years ago so youngsters could enjoy outdoor life are reeling after thieves stole their equipment at the weekend.

The allotment is part of a community garden set up by the charity Community Development Action Herts in Hixberry Lane, St Albans, which boasts a small orchard, beekeepers group, compostable toilet, raised beds and a wheelchair-friendly access.

In the past two years, the childminders, who call themselves Little Eden, have developed their area of the site with a barked play area, a den and a digging patch.

They get the children involved in all aspects of planting, watering and tending flowers and vegetables and it also teaches them where food comes from.

But at the weekend thieves broke into a shed and stole a wishing well, a couple of benches, a trough with the flowers that were to go in it and a wheelbarrow.

The discovery was made by project leader Nadia Sangra-Jones when she went to the allotment on Sunday to look at a piece of the garden which has been earmarked for the growing of vegetables.

Glenda Elder, a volunteer for CDA Herts, said: “The children come down and have picnics here and the wishing well was a nice feature. The childminders have put a lot of passionate energy into it and it is such a good advertisement for the site and was really encouraging children to get involved.”

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She is sure that the thieves had some kind of vehicle with them because items like the wishing well were heavy and could not be carried away.

She went on: “The community police officer has been involved and CDA are looking at possible ways of increasing security at the site.”

Despite the theft, which Glenda said was the most recent in a spate of break-ins at the Hixberry Lane allotments, the childminders were pushing ahead with plans to create a wildflower garden to celebrate the arrival of Princess Charlotte. The children have already been planting native plants and sowing wildflower seeds.

It is one of a number of initiatives to raise the profile of the site and capture the imagination of local people and businesses. Glenda went on: “It’s a beautiful location and we would we like everyone to enjoy it.”

A spokesperson for Herts Police confirmed that they were investigating the theft which happened between 11.15am on Friday, June 12 ,and 1.15pm on Sunday, June 14, after a shed had been forced.

Among the items listed as stolen were aviary panels, a table and a raised vegetable bed. Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact the non-emergency number 101.

Anyone wanting to know more about the Princess Charlotte Garden project or who would like to help replace some of the stolen items should contact CDA on 01707 695504 or email