Cracking down on allotment crime

Sgt Jon Bird with allotment owners John Diwell, John Skelton, John Speight, Dave Westwood and PCSO Rebecca Norbury.
Sgt Jon Bird with allotment owners John Diwell, John Skelton, John Speight, Dave Westwood and PCSO Rebecca Norbury.

Eagle-eyed residents have teamed up with police officers to protect their allotments from anti-social behaviour and petty crime.

Pontefract and Knottingley neighbourhood policing team (NPT) helped launch an Allotment Watch scheme last month.

The project gives allotment owners direct contact with officers to report incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity at allotments across the two towns.

Dave Westwood, secretary of the Monkhill Drive allotment group, said: “I’m optimistic about it. We are talking to the police and they are determined to at least have a presence at the allotments, so people are aware officers are down there.”

Mr Westwood, who has had an allotment for around ten years, said owners have suffered with shed break-ins, superglued locks, stolen equipment and people using the sites as a short-cut to other parts of the estate.

Sgt Jon Bird, of the NPT, said PCSOs will now visit allotments as part of their beat route.

He said: “People really care about their allotments and are passionate about their sites.

“This scheme gives us the opportunity for allotment owners to have direct contact with officers to report crimes so we can reduce anti-social behaviour and damage to people’s pride and joy more quickly.”

Anyone with any information about offences relating to allotments is asked to contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.