Poplar Nursery in Emneth offers to replace trees stolen from Wisbech Park community orchard for free

Some of the Wisbech In Bloom team who planted the apple orchard in Wisbech Park. Picture: FENLAND DI

Some of the Wisbech In Bloom team who planted the apple orchard in Wisbech Park. Picture: FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL. - Credit: Archant

An Emneth nursery has offered to replace 15 trees that were stolen from Wisbech Park for free.

Following a plea on social media, Poplar Nursery - who originally supplied the trees – came to the rescue of Wisbech in Bloom volunteers who were left “upset and angry” by the theft.

The Wisbech Lions have also offered to make a financial contribution to the group since the apple trees from the community orchard were taken.

Penny Stocks, secretary of Wisbech in Bloom, said: “The trees were stolen sometime in the past two weeks.

“It was obviously not an impulsive act as the thief has taken different apple varieties from several locations in the orchard.

“All of the trees were attached to a post and wire framework which would have taken time to remove.

“It is really upsetting for this to happen as it was hard work by lots of lovely volunteers to get the orchard planted...not to mention the watering through the hot summer.

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“Still, it is fantastic when people come forward wanting to help. It restores our faith in human nature.”

The orchard was created last spring in celebration of Wisbech’s fruit growing heritage and “to give future generations the opportunity to stroll through an orchard, smell the blossom and pick an apple fresh from the tree.

“The trees are now well established and likely to yield a good crop this autumn,” Mrs Stocks added.

“Although the orchard project was organised by Wisbech in Bloom, many volunteers braved the early spring chill to help plant the trees, including volunteers from Wisbech Street Pride, Hughes Electrical and the Eastern European community. Horticultural students from Meadowgate School were filmed during their planting sessions for the Britain in Bloom programme that will be shown on BBC2 this spring.”

The orchard was planted with 130 cordon trees in 31 different varieties, for both eating and cooking and was financed by donations from Wisbech Round Table, Wisbech Town Council and a Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ grant.

Brian Massingham, chairman of Wisbech in Bloom, said: “It is fantastic to know that so many people in the local community appreciate our efforts and we are very grateful for their continued support.

“The crime has been reported to the police and CCTV footage is being studied.”

A police spokesman said: “We were contacted on Friday February 1 with reports of 15 trees being stolen from Wisbech Park.

“They were taken between 9am on January 25 and 3.30pm on January 31.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident should call police on 101 quoting 35/7523/19 or visit www.cambs.police.uk/report.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.