Worcester orchard hit by second theft in a week

Worcester News: DEVASTATED: Volunteers after the first theft at Aconbury Orchard at the spot where one of the trees had been planted, from the left, Councillor Andy Roberts, Dan Robb, Jackie Craddock and Ray Harte. DEVASTATED: Volunteers after the first theft at Aconbury Orchard at the spot where one of the trees had been planted, from the left, Councillor Andy Roberts, Dan Robb, Jackie Craddock and Ray Harte.

VOLUNTEERS behind a Worcester orchard have been left fuming after newly planted trees were stolen for the second time in a week.

Fifteen trees were planted at Aconbury Orchard in Warndon Villages during a community get-together just before Christmas.

But the season of goodwill has not extended into the new year as six of the saplings, each worth £30, have since been stolen.

Two were taken just before the new year and four more in the past few days.

“It’s so disheartening,” said Dan Robb, who lives near the orchard and is one of the people behind the scheme.

"We are trying to do something good up there. I think they’re doing it to sell the trees on.

“It’s only really dog-walkers who regularly go up there. Whoever stole these trees would have to walk with them some distance.

“It takes two years for these trees to be established. When you’ve had six go all at once, it’s a real knock-back.”

County councillor for the area, Andy Roberts, broke the news of the latest thefts to Warndon Parish Council on Monday night.

“I can’t believe it,” he told fellow members.

“If the thieves had asked me, I would have just given them the money instead.”

The first theft is thought to have occurred at the orchard, off Newtown Road, on Sunday, December 29. The latest was some time between 2pm on Friday, January 3 and 9am on Monday.

“The Warndon Safer Neighbourhood Team will be conducting patrols in that area and we are asking members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour in the area immediately they see it, so we can trace those responsible and find the stolen trees,” said a police spokesman.

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“West Mercia also urges members of the public to make sure they buy plants or trees from reputable suppliers and not from the back of a van.”

Anyone with information about the thefts, or suspicious tree sales, is asked to contact the West Mercia Police Safer Neighbourhood Team for Warndon on 101.

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