A PETITION has been launched to address an increase in reported break-ins and thefts at allotments in Redditch and Bromsgrove.

It is asking Bromsgrove District Council and Redditch Borough Council to hire a private security company to patrol and protect the allotments during the night.

The petition, started by Bromsgrove resident Ryan Rogers on Change.org, reads: “Thieves have broken into and damaged allotment sheds and stolen thousands of pounds worth of machinery and equipment from plot owners such as lawnmowers, generators, strimmers, rotavators and cultivators.

“Plot owners have been left devastated and heartbroken due the equipment being very expensive to replace and some being passed down through generations of families.”

“Local security company TGF Security, who already work for Bromsgrove and Redditch Council have a very good solution to the problem.

“TGF Security can install security signs and send out a SIA licensed security guard in a mobile security patrol vehicle to check on the allotments throughout the night to deter the thieves.”

Responding to the petition, a spokesperson for Bromsgrove District Council said: "While allotment users are responsible for their own equipment we as a council have put in measures to help keep our sites secure where possible and, with our community safety team, provided the best advice to our tenants on security measures to be considered.

"Through our partnership working we are utilising funding from the Community Police Officers who have already provided them with free SmartWater to mark items of value and deterrent signs to put up too and we are replacing the damaged locks.

"We do urge our tenants not to keep items of value at their allotments overnight but can assure them we have done all we can to make them as safe as possible."

Back in June, West Mercia Police increased patrols around allotments following a spate of break-ins and thefts.

Rural crime officers contacted allotment holders and worked with the council assess security arrangements.

Advice was issued to allotment holders, reminded them to securely lock gates and install clearly visible, waterproof signs to alert passers-by to the opening hours, rules and contact details.