Community garden in Shoeburyness suffers fire damage

The hedgerow in the corner of Growing Together Shoeburyness has been burnt down, with the long grass catching fire and burning the grass on the mound. This has damaged valuable habitat from frogs, toads and other wildlife at the community garden.

The possible arson attack is one of a series of break ins that the garden has suffered over recent years, with people climbing over the fences, damaging the polytunnels, smashing pots and burning some of the children’s crafts in previous attacks.

The police are currently working with the fire service to determine whether or not the fire was set deliberately.

Matt King, CEO of Trust Links, said: “This is yet another heartbreaking challenge experienced at our community garden in Shoeburyness. We are looking forward to welcoming members back to the site for socially distanced gardening and they will be so disappointed to see that their garden has been damaged again.

“At a time where mental health is vulnerable anyway, the last thing people need is a fire at the community garden that is so valued by the local community.

“Luckily there is no long term damage to the site and our upgraded CCTV system will be installed tomorrow, so hopefully this will be the last of these types of attacks.”

Members are due to return to Growing Together Shoeburyness next week, following the successful return of members to the Westcliff site last week. The site has been closed since March following government guidelines, but will reopen with COVID secure measures in place.

If anyone has any information on the attack, please call 101 with the crime reference number 42/108728/20

Mick Ferris

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