Today I received a phone call from one of my allotment neighbours to let me know that the bottom gate to our plot, the one that allows vehicle access, was no longer secure.
A few days ago the top gate, that allows pedestrian access only, had been forced open by thieves who came on to the site and stole a number of metal objects, presumably for weighing in for money. (For those of you who are unsure about the weighing in process, it is when scrap metal is collected up and weighed in at a scrap metal merchant in exchange for cash).
Andy, my allotment neighbour takes his plot very seriously and was concerned that the unsecured gate would then allow easy access to other unsavoury characters who could possibly come on to the site to cause damage and destruction to equipment and plots. He decided that he would take it upon himself to fix and secure the gate, especially as the elected committee members seemed not to care too much about the site being unsecured. This involved my Husband, who has welding skills, going to the plot after work to weld the top gate shut, securing the site again and forcing any allotment holder to use the bottom gate only.
Great, we all thought. The site is secure again and we can rest easy knowing that at least for the time being our crops and equipment were not easily accessible. That was until today.
Another phone call from Andy earlier this evening revealed that the site is fully open now due to a driver losing control on the bend opposite the gates. He careered into the gates as he slid on some black ice and ended up taking out one of the gates in the process. The driver was completely unharmed, so much so that he completely drove from the scene!!Luckily for us allotment holders, a resident in one of the neighbouring houses, who also happens to be an allotment plot holder of our site, witnessed the entire accident and recorded details of the driver and his vehicle for reporting to the police. The driver escaped the accident unscathed, although from the witness statements his van is in a very bad way, but not bad enough that he couldn’t flee the scene quickly.
Anyway, I digress. The bottom gate is now, most definitely unsecure. There were two large gates on the entrance to the site, secured with a chain and very expensive padlock, held up by two reinforced concrete posts – there is now only one gate standing. The other gate is lying strewn on the floor of the allotment driveway with no immediate rush for it being put back into place. It is a council operated site and they were informed of the accident and subsequent damage but have given no indication as to when, if ever, the gate will be fixed.
In the meantime, us allotment holders have no choice but to hope and pray that vandals and thieves don’t take this ‘open door’ as an invitation to run riot and take what doesn’t belong to them. I’m not hopeful and will be removing as much of my belongings from the site as soon as is feasibly possibly until the site is yet again secure.