Scheme aims to keep Kettering allotments crime-free

PCSO Laura Mitchell, Jane Calcott (Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer), Dave Watts (Burton Latimer Allotment Assn), Brenda and Neil Chambers (Desborough Allotment Assn)
PCSO Laura Mitchell, Jane Calcott (Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer), Dave Watts (Burton Latimer Allotment Assn), Brenda and Neil Chambers (Desborough Allotment Assn)
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A scheme aimed at deterring crime and getting people who live near allotment sites to report incidents they witness has been created in Kettering.

Allotment Watch has been a year in the planning, and was officially launched at the Margaret Road Allotments in Kettering this week.

It is now hoped that it can be rolled out at allotment sites in towns and villages across the whole Kettering borough.

Jane Calcott, Neighbourhood Watch liaison officer, is co-ordinating the scheme.

She said: “We were concerned because some allotments suffer with problems like vandalism and thefts and we wanted to try and do something.

“It can be very frustrating for the allotment holders when they suffer damage to their properties.

“We have managed to get funding for signs which will be placed at allotment sites, and we are also printing leaflets which will be delivered to people who live near allotments asking them for their help.

“For example, at the Margaret Road allotments there are people living very nearby whose homes overlook the allotments, and we are asking them to report any incidents they see to the police.”

Another less common problem is that of homeless people breaking into allotment sheds to sleep there overnight.

Mrs Calcott said she will be making contact with secretaries of allotment associations in the near future to see if they are interested in joining the scheme.

She added: “There is no cost to the allotment holders themselves, as the signs will be paid for with any grant money which we are able to obtain.”

The scheme was officially launched on Monday at a meeting at the Margaret Road site attended by representatives from the police, Kettering Council and plot holders from other allotments in Burton Latimer and Desborough.

In 2013, the Telegraph reported how vandals broke into a number of sheds at the Margaret Road allotment site and either stole or let free a number of chickens.

And in 2009, there were reports of spates of thefts of vegetables from allotments in Kettering, Desborough and Mawsley.

Read more Kettering news here.