THIEVES stole thousands of pounds of equipment from an allotment and went on a wrecking spree before defecating in a polytunnel.
Raiders targeted the allotments at Lowhills Road, in Peterlee, and cut their way into a steel storage container that houses gardeners’ tools.
They made off with five rotavators worth a total of £2,000, and also ransacked a brick building where the gardeners make tea and have taken a petty cash box.
They slashed open one polytunnel, which is like a long polythene greenhouse, and defecated in another.
Gordon Jones, secretary of Peterlee Leisure Gardeners’ Association, said: “There has been a concerted effort to get into the steel container.
“It’s not just the damage – it has a disheartening effect on everybody.”
The allotment is also used by two local schools and Stonham Housing residents.
The 30-year-old association has been applying for a Big Lottery grant for improvements. It’s thought members will need to apply for close to £15,000 to also meet costs of the break-in.
Mr Jones, 64, from Peterlee, said there had been petty thefts and vandalism at the 48-plot site in the past, but nothing as bad as this.
He added: “We are actually tending to lose members who are obviously disheartened at spending all their time and working on their land and then some person comes along and wrecks the place.
“I have difficulty understanding what pleasure they get out of it.
“We are trying to help the local community. It’s just a bit of a kick in the teeth when things like this happen.
“Someone must have heard or seen what went on.”
The attack happened some time between 7pm on Sunday, March 9 and 7am on Monday, March 10.
Anyone with information should call police on their non-emergency number 101.