Neighbours left furious after ‘phantom plant plucker’ steals plants and damages gardens

Gardeners’ World: Will Young discusses gardening

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Furious neighbours have had prized pot plants and succulents pinched from their gardens and shrubs uprooted by the green-fingered digger. As a result 250 people have been warned to be on the lookout for the suburban prowler in the St Andrews district of Sydney, Australia. Many of the victims have been left “upset” about the incident and are now helping the police find the alleged culprit.

Rob Lillis, a local resident, said: “Well actually, we had quite a few hits from her.

“Quite a few pots went first, just small pots, enough for her to carry I suppose and the other plants were just random.

“She just pulled them out here and there. They’re not great value but it’s a bit of pride that you have in it and you cherish those things.”

Rob checked his CCTV cameras and spotted a hooded individual hauling a bag over their shoulder.

He continued: “As soon as I saw her camouflaged I thought, yeah, we’re not the first ones she’s hit.”

What’s more footage from another street showed a figure bending down to grab plants with their bare hands and stashing them in a bag.

According to reports, some raids have taken place in the dead of night and others in broad daylight.

However, many victims have said that the bandit leaves dying plants alone and goes for the vigorous specimens.

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Andrew Waterson said: “The first time they hit us, they basically took 10 plants all along here.

“Even came down the driveway a bit and took some of the ones from there. 

“My wife lost all of her ones that were flowering.

“They came back next week and then ripped out a lot of the succulents that we had, ripped out the succulents, took the bits they wanted and threw the rest back down.

“One of the ones she knocked off, my wife had spent three years shaping it to the way she wanted and then gone, then just came and ripped the whole plant out by the root.”

He explained how he has been forced to install security cameras and a fence he didn’t want.

Another victim, Pay Heaney, said his wife had lost some of her plants too.

He said: “She got this one and it bloomed and she really loved it, and she came out and all it was was a pot with a big hole and dirt on the ground where it used to be. 

“She was really upset about it.”

Police alleged that the thief is Sherrie Robinson, charging her with four counts of larceny, or theft of personal property. 

In English law larceny was replaced as a statutory crime by theft in 1968.

While Sherrie will now need to face court over her alleged late night gardening, the St Andrews locals said they just want it put to bed.

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