GARDENERS got so angry they hid behind sheds and starting patrolling their allotments during the night.

Bur it wasn't to check if their marrows had grown that extra prize-winning inch.

They had a much more serious purpose, and were guarding the East Oxford grounds to see if they could spot vandals, who in August 1970 had pulled up carrots, broken into sheds and scattered uprooted potatoes all over the place.

They were furious.

"I wish I could get my hands on them." Said Mr A Shayler (pictured). "I'd like to break my stick over their heads. They dug up my potatoes and threw them on the ground just like a bunch of grapes."

Some of the incidents, like the uprooting of carrots, may be vandalism but when someone dug up and carted away three rows of potatoes, the allotment tenants began to think that the problem was more serious.

The secretary, Kenneth Hewer, said:"We've had pigeons, rabbits and the weather, and now...rogues."