Green-fingered thieves take off with pot plants in Kensington

Brendan Rees

Angry Kensington residents are installing home security cameras and padlocking their gates as they seek to ward off low-life thieves targeting their gardens.

Multiple reported incidents of pot plant theft have sparked fury among residents – with many taking to social media to blast the “plant bandits”.

Andrew Gilbert, who recently had a pot plant taken from his front garden on Macaulay Rd, said he was shocked by the incident.

“I know it’s only a pot plant … but it’s the fact that someone’s come onto your property and taken something that you’ve taken great pride in,” he told North West City News.

“It was a shame, because it was quite an unusual plant. It started off as a small seedling and has grown over 12 months,” he said of his stolen plant which was in a terracotta pot.

Mr Gilbert, who has lived at his property for 19 years and never been targeted by thieves before, said he had security cameras set up but unfortunately it didn’t catch the culprit.

“It’s just annoying that’s it’s happening,” he said after learning other residents had also been victims, including his neighbour three doors down.

 

I assume it’s always at night that someone is doing it. Some of the reports I’ve read on Facebook, people have actually had shrubs ripped out of their garden, particularly newly planted ones.

 

Another resident Gail Jones of almost 36 years, said she was left devastated and “violated” after thieves made off with her two-foot garden statue and two pot plants that had “beautiful orange flowers” after entering her front garden.

“I noticed one morning that it was missing [the statue] and so were a couple of plants in the pots,” she said.

“I thought, ‘hang on a minute, why is the latch not closed [on the gate]?’”

“You feel a bit uncomfortable and violated. I ended up getting a Lockwood lock … and I put it on the gate every night.”

“I just feel more secure that if I go to Bunnings to have a bit of a spend-up, plants aren’t going to go missing.”

Ms Jones said the plants had been a gift from the local post office for her birthday, and when she told staff of the theft they said, “someone else was complaining [of plant theft] in Gower St”.

Ms Jones said although she didn’t report the matter to police, believing it was a small offence, she wanted to tell of her experience to not only call out the behaviour but to warn others.

“It’s good to make these things visible to the community so they can be aware of it. They [offenders] may be from a whole different area, who knows.”

Another resident posted on Facebook to express their frustration after their garden was targeted last year, and had since upgraded their security cameras to 4K with heat detection.

“If anyone tries to come into our front yard, the cameras will shine bright lights and capture much better details,” the resident said.

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria said while it had not received reports of plant theft, it said most crime was “opportunistic”.

“More effective than CCTV are sensor lights. Crims don’t want to enter your home if they think they will be spotted,” it said.

“And leaving lights and TVs on i inside when you go out will make it tough for the criminal to know whether there is someone home.”

Victoria Police crime prevention officer Glenn McFarlane said anyone who was a victim of a plant thief should contact police. He also recommended residents to install motion sensor lights and CCTV to deter possible offenders •

side when you go out will make it tough for the criminal to know whether there is someone home.”

Victoria Police crime prevention officer Glenn McFarlane said anyone who was a victim of a plant thief should contact police.

He also recommended residents to install motion sensor lights and CCTV to deter possible offenders.

Anyone with information of plant theft is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

Caption: Kensington resident Andrew Gilbert is at a loss as to why his garden was targeted by thieves.

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