A gardening volunteer says he has been left “angry, disheartened and distressed” after plants were stolen from the museum grounds he tends.
Paul Feary, who helps look after the public gardens at The Higgins, Bedford, said just days after 24 bedding plants were put in, most were taken.
The plants had come directly from another volunteer, he said.
Bedford Borough Council, which owns the site, said it was “incredibly sad” and its volunteers put in “so much work”.
Mr Feary said: “One of the volunteers brought in 24 plants, salvias and petunias, we planted them around and when we came the next Monday all but four of them had been dug up.”
He said it was not the first theft, as an expensive bay tree had been taken, and plants they sell, regularly disappear.
He said the group of about five volunteers, who meet on a Monday afternoon, was entirely self-funded from donations and plant sales.
“It always makes me feel distressed, upset and angry,” he said.
“When I see the hard work that people have been put in and then somebody comes and digs them up, it’s not as even as if they’ve been thrown around, somebody’s taking little plants, I just get disheartened.”
He said he posted his disappointment on Facebook as he was left thinking: “what’s the point?”
Elaine Cronin, from Bedford, visited the museum to make a donation of plants.
“I was really appalled to hear that they’d been burgled after all their hard work and they are volunteers, so I just thought, I’ve got a few spare plants in my garden.
“I felt really sad that all their hard work is for nothing and also that people are so atrocious that they would come and steal them, it really upset me.”
A spokeswoman for the authority said: “It is incredibly sad that plants have been stolen.
“Bedford Borough Council thanks the volunteers that put so much work into maintaining the space and giving joy to visitors who use the gardens.
“We hope the perpetrators will think again and encourage anyone with information to come forward.”
Mr Feary said more volunteers were needed and would be welcome, to “see what we have to do”.
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