A HANLEY Swan gardener is calling for improved security at the Three Counties Showground after rare plants she was exhibiting were stolen.

Joanna Bowles says staff at the showground could have done more to look after her plants, valued at £25, which were taken at the Malvern Garden and Country Show in September.

Mrs Bowles, a landscape gardener, was exhibiting rare fuschias. Show guidelines said exhibits should not be removed until between 5pm and 5.30pm. When Mrs Bowles arrived at 5.20pm, her exhibits were missing, as were those of several other people.

She said she wrote twice to Three Counties director Gareth Smith but received no reply. She then spoke to show manager Doreen Smillie, who told her that the committee would not accept responsibility for the loss.

However, the show schedule said that the committee would not accept responsibility for losses after the collection time of 5.30pm.

Mrs Bowles said this suggested that it would accept responsibility until then.

"It's taken them up to December to reply and I've had to chase them. I think that's a pretty poor attitude," she said. "Had they replied at the beginning and said they were sorry I would have left it," she said. "I want to make other people aware that there's a problem and I want the staff looking to see how they're going to improve security arrangements."

Showground director Gareth Smith was unavailable for comment.