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Thief takes the bloom off community centre
FLOWERS, plants and shrubs that brightened the front of the West Oxford Community Centre have been stolen.
Staff at the community centre in Botley Road planted snapdragons, marigolds, petunias and shrubs at the entrance to the building in June.
But last week they came into work to find the greenery gone.
Centre assistant Rebecca Minton said: “It was quite a surprise to come around the corner and see no flowers in the planters on Monday morning.
“They were all of the plants that were in full bloom. They were doing very well.”
The three planters were made in June for the West Oxford Fun Day on July 12.
Ms Minton cycled them by bicycle trailer from the Elder Stubbs allotments in Cowley – where Oxford mental health charity Restore runs a recovery group.
She said: “It felt quite nice to have them in the planters because we were supporting other important community groups.
“It was surprising, but mainly upsetting, because everyone who came to the centre enjoyed seeing the flowers and were commenting on how nice they were, so it is quite sad to see them gone.
“I think the fact that people had dug them up from the roots shows they wanted them for their own garden.
“They were dug neatly from the pots. It is a shame because they were there for everybody to enjoy but now there is only half a pot of soil.”
Centre manager Keith Birnie said: “It is annoying and petty. Somebody dug out a few of the nicest plants over the weekend at some point. They were not worth much, but it has spoiled our display.”
The plants were grown from plant seedlings which cost about £15 – but West Oxford Community Centre staff said because they had grown and flowered so well they would now be worth a lot more.
Ms Minton said she thinks the theft happened on Sunday, September 1.
The Oxford Thai Food and Culture Festival 2013 was being held next to the community centre in Botley Park from 11am until 6pm, so she believes there may have been witnesses.
Police spokesman Craig Evry said police were treating the matter as theft and asked anyone who had seen anything to contact police on 101.
“It is being looked into by the neighbourhood policing team. We believe it happened between August 28 and September 2.”