Plant thief strikes Thornlands home gardeners

BLOOMING 'ELL: Les Cunningham stands outside a neighbour's home, which has also been targeted. Mesh wire has been put up along the fence to stop people from reaching in to cut branches off. Photo: Hannah Baker
BLOOMING 'ELL: Les Cunningham stands outside a neighbour's home, which has also been targeted. Mesh wire has been put up along the fence to stop people from reaching in to cut branches off. Photo: Hannah Baker

A THORNLANDS woman is so fed up with plants being pinched from her front yard she is planning to install CCTV cameras.

Les Cunningham, who grows a garden outside her front fence, said she could not understand why her property was being targeted.

Boganvillea, white geraniums, petunias and succulents have all been ripped out, with seven plants taken since the start of September.

Ms Cunningham said some plants would not have survived after being pulled out, making her think a novice was responsible.

The matter has been reported to police but Ms Cunningham said she was keeping a careful watch on people who passed by, recruiting nearby residents to help keep a lookout.

Ms Cunningham's front garden has been targeted, with plants stolen. Photo: Hannah Baker

Ms Cunningham's front garden has been targeted, with plants stolen. Photo: Hannah Baker

She said she had always supplied cuttings to people who asked, making the thefts all the more difficult to understand.

She walked the streets after her fifth plant was stolen to find out who the plant thief was, to no avail.

“A lot of what was put in, hadn’t been there long,” Ms Cunningham said. “I am suspicious of cars that pull over.”

Neighbours have also been hit by the mystery plant thief, with branches lopped from a spiky crown-of-thorns growing inside Wanphen Hill’s fenced property.

Mesh wire has since been installed to stop hands from reaching through fence gaps and a sign put up warning people to not steal.

One neighbour has put up mesh wire to stop hands from reaching through to cut off branches. Photo: Hannah Baker

One neighbour has put up mesh wire to stop hands from reaching through to cut off branches. Photo: Hannah Baker

Ms Hill said she did not mind if people took cuttings from her overgrown plants but four of her mother-in-law tongues had been taken and enough was enough.

Gardener Margaret Craft said two of her mature azaleas had been uprooted and a third plant pinched.

She considered the thefts an invasion of privacy, which stymied her enjoyment of gardening.

“You put a lot of effort into your garden,” she said. “(The theft) is an invasion.”

She blamed dwindling home ownership and tenant transience in the area for problems.

Cleveland police encouraged anyone with plants stolen to contact the station.

Those with information can contact Policelink on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.