Allotment holders have spoken of their anger after they were targeted in a spate of overnight break-ins.
Up to a dozen private allotment sheds behind Great Harwood cemetery on Blackburn Road are believed to have been raided by thieves between 7pm on Tuesday, September 29 and 8am the next morning. Police said they have had at least four confirmed theft reports so far but expect the numbers to rise.
The unknown offenders made off with a claw hammer, hedge strimmer, three padlocks and a black Titan strimmer worth £69.
Michael Baron, who has an allotment along with his brothers William and site owner Philip, said: “My brother-in-law was dropping some gutters off first thing and he saw all the sheds opened. I work in Preston so my brother William came down and spoke to the police about it.
“They stole a strimmer and head cutter that we share. It’s a brand new one and they took the box as well. They haven’t done the locks on mine, they have done the catch.
“To be honest we think we’ve been lucky as they haven’t damaged anything. I’m just glad they didn’t do any more damage.”
Another victim Lynn Wilson, who has had an allotment for four years, said it is ‘really annoying’.
She said: “They have targeted every allotment on that site as well as a very large privately-owned one nearby.
“It looks like they were searching for specific tools. They didn’t take small things like spades, they were looking for power tools, petrol and generators.
“It is really annoying as they have cut all my locks off which means I need to get new ones.
“But it’s a double edge sword. You can leave it unlocked and risk children getting in and handling something dangerous or you get locks and this happens.
“I have been done once before. It seems like we have a break from it and every now and again it rears its ugly head.”
Sgt Ian Corbett, of Hyndburn Police, said the thieves used bolt croppers to cut through padlocks and chains to gain access to the allotment sheds.
He said: “Officers have done house to house enquiries and checked CCTV covering that area.
“They have recovered some items which will be preserved for scene of crime officers.”
Call police on 101 quoting crime reference number ED1513076.