Arrests made after attacks on Durham City floral displays

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Two people have been arrested after attacks on 'In Bloom' floral displays in Durham City.

The men were detained after incidents late on Friday night and in the early hours of Sunday.

Plants were pulled out of tubs, according to Durham Constabulary, which are part of the city's bid to defend its Britain In Bloom and Northumbria In Bloom titles.

In the first, the planter in Market Place was targeted at 11.50pm on Friday, say the police, while the second happened in Millennium Place at 12.40am on Sunday.

In total, damage of about £200 was caused, and two men were arrested.

The man behind the Market Place incident was ordered to pay a fixed penalty notice of £100.

The person responsible for the Millennium Place episode has been referred to Durham Constabulary’s Checkpoint programme, through which he has been put on a four-month contract as an alternative to prosecution.

As part of this, the man will have to carry out voluntary work and meet representatives from Durham In Bloom.

Durham City is in the Champion of Champions category of both the national and regional In Bloom competitions, having won awards at each in both 2014 and 2015.

Durham County Council supports the city’s In Bloom campaign and is responsible for maintaining the displays.

Its corporate director of neighbourhood services, Oliver Sherratt, said: “In Bloom means a great deal to the people of Durham.

“Last year, volunteers spent over 5,000 hours supporting the campaign and helping towards long-term environmental improvements to the city.

“The planters in the city are funded by our Business Improvement District and make the city look beautiful; attracting visitors from far and wide, all of which supports the tourist trade in Durham.

“It is just so disappointing to all concerned when a minority of people want to commit acts of mindless vandalism, and is something we will not tolerate.

“We work closely with our colleagues in the police and welcome their support to take these people to task.”

PC Gary Thompson, of Durham Constabulary, said: “Durham is a fantastic city, and the hard work that goes into regular planting and maintenance of the flower planters adds to the positive experience for visitors and residents.

“We take very seriously any incident of damage to these planters and will investigate using any available CCTV or witnesses to identify those responsible.

“Over the weekend, we’ve arrested two adults who damaged separate planters.

“Both were arrested and spent a period of time in the cells; as a result of their actions one has been fined and the other will be carrying out remedial work.

“Both may now have to disclose the incidents to employers and insurance companies.

“I’d encourage people to respect the environment and ask anyone witnessing damage to report it immediately on 101.”

For more information about Durham In Bloom, visit www.facebook.com/durhambloom

Anyone wanting to get involved with In Bloom is encouraged to email civicpride@durham.gov.uk or phone 03000 261000.