Two people have been arrested following attacks on ‘In Bloom’ floral displays in Durham.
The men were detained after incidents late on Friday night and in the early hours of Sunday, which saw plants pulled out of tubs in the Market Place and Millennium Square, which are part of the city’s bid to defend its Britain In Bloom and Northumbria in Bloom titles.
The man behind the Market Place incident was ordered to pay a fixed penalty notice of £100.
The man 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, he will have to carry out voluntary work and meet representatives from Durham In Bloom.
The council's 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.
“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.