A woman who rents an allotment who claims she is the continuous target of vandalism said the damage caused has ripped the “heart and soul” from the area.

Paula Swift’s Paddock Road allotment in Watford was targeted on July 27 and three times since by people who smashed her greenhouse windows, broke into her shed and damaged her crops.

Paula, who lives in Pinner Road and has rented her allotment for seven years, said the vandalism happens each year, usually in the summer time.

“It’s so frustrating. All that effort put into your property and it just gets damaged,” she said.

Watford Observer:

Paula, 55, reported her story to the Watford Observer because she said what should be a place to “relax and enjoy” is having the “heart and soul ripped out of it”.

She said: “This is the most beautiful place in Watford to grow. The community is wonderful, it brings people together especially for events and during harvest time.

“But we constantly have our sheds broken into. It’s the only allotment, I know of, that has open access for pedestrians which has led to vandalism, theft of crops, sheds vandalised and tools stolen.

“I think this is a direct result of the site being open to the public. It’s a place to relax and enjoy and yet the heart and soul is being ripped out of it.”

Watford Observer:

In the most recent spate of vandalism, ten panes of glass were smashed in her greenhouse, crop covers were removed and “stamped on” and her shed was broken into and her gardening tools were flung all over the place.

Paula went on the say the area is “secluded and quiet” and because of the open access it gives “licence for people to do what they like”.

She fears if the trend continues it will entrench a view the allotment has no value and it will be closed down.

When asked what she would like to see done, Paula said: “The cure would be to have a locked gate with the key held by allotment owners.”

Cllr Tim Williams, cabinet member for client services, said: “We have been made aware of an act of vandalism at our Green Flag award winning allotment at Paddock Road.

"Currently it is not locked because there is an allotment holder split. Some holders would like to see the gate locked and others are equally keen for it to remain unlocked and open for community use as it has been for many years. "This is something we are looking to review with Paddock Road allotment holders as we want to ensure we balance site security with wider community use.”