Thieves who have stolen plants from the central flower beds at West Park may be jeopardising Wolverhampton's chances of securing a Gold Award in this year's Heart of England in Bloom contest.

They have struck on a number of occasions over the last few evenings, with around 150 bedding plants being taken last night (Thursday 11 July, 2013) alone. In total, around 600 plants have been stolen since the start of June.

The plants have been growing since early last month and it is impossible to match them with suitable replacements, so parks staff have been forced to tidy up the beds as best they can.

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for City Services, said: "Taking plants from flower beds is theft, and although it isn't causing us a major problem financially, they are having a massive impact on the look of our displays - and therefore on West Park as a whole.

"Not only will this detract from the pleasure of all of the visitors to the City Show this weekend, but we are also formally presenting our plant displays to the Heart of England in Bloom judges who will be on their city-wide tour on Thursday (18 July, 2013) - this area of West Park in particular is seen as the jewel and was to be one of the main features of our bid to win gold again.

"We'll of course explain to the judges what has happened, but it may have a detrimental impact on our entry."

Park rangers and grounds maintenance employees from the city council's Public Realm Services are stepping up patrols in the area and Councillor Reynolds added: "I'd urge anyone who knows anything about these thefts to contact the police on 101 or the city council via City Direct on 01902 551155."

  • released: Friday 12 July, 2013