Thieves steal tools being used to tidy up Sunderland community spot

Gardening equipment being used by a band of volunteers to transform a corner of a Sunderland commuity has been stolen by thieves.

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 7:05 am
Volunteer East Area Ranger  Bob Makins, Doxford ward member, Coun Heather Fagan, chairman of the Friends Group of Doxford Park Karl Stabler, Doxford ward member, Coun Christine Marshall. Doxford ward member and chairman of the East Area Committee, Coun Elizabeth Gibson,  Inspector Maria Pollock from Northumbria  Police and volunteer East Area ranger Neale Brown.

Volunteers worked all day last Friday and Saturday, carrying out a variety of environmental improvements in Doxford Park over the weekend.

They work included cutting back shrubs, strimming, raking, edging pathways and weeding.

The project is part of an East Area Committee grant-funded SIB scheme called the East Rangers, which has involved 20 local volunteers being trained to use a variety of different tools to tidy up overgrown spaces in our neighbourhoods.

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Sadly, they were unable to complete their community-spirited work on Sunday as planned after thieves broke into outbuildings.

Hedgecutters, lawnmower, strimmers and polesaw which were being temporarily stored overnight were stolen in the burglary. Chairman of the Sunderland City Council's East Area Committee, ward member for Doxford Park Councillor Elizabeth Gibson, said: "It is devastating that the antisocial, criminal behaviour of these thieves has ruined this project.

“So many volunteers were willing to give up their time to join in this clean up from a sense of shared pride in their community, and it’s a disgrace their efforts over the weekend ended in this way.

"We can’t and won’t let the thieves win, and will continue to work alongside local volunteers and our community partners such as the Friends Group of Doxford Park to protect everyone’s right to live in a ‘cleaner, greener’ environment respected by all who live in it.”

It is planned that the work of the volunteers from the East Area Committee funded project will continue if and when replacement equipment can be sourced.