Shoreham flower boxes cared for by keen gardener are vandalised

Mary Stokes with the vandalised flower boxes
Mary Stokes with the vandalised flower boxes

A Shoreham houseboat resident and keen gardener returned home last week to find the public flower boxes she lovingly cares for had been vandalised.

Mary Stokes had taken it upon herself to tend the flower boxes on the flood defence wall opposite her home in Riverbank since they were put in place by the Environment Agency a few months ago.

But on Friday, she found to her dismay that two of the boxes had been ‘severely damaged’ and the plants had been ‘strewn’ over the other side of the wall.

Ms Stokes, who is retired and spends much of her time volunteering in the community, said she was puzzled by the vandalism.

“At first you think, who doesn’t like me? And then you think, it just happens,” she said, adding: “They tried to lift the boxes off and realised they were fixed on.

“You can see they tried really hard because they’ve pulled the tops off.

“They took the contents and all the plants and just threw them over the wall.”

She said she had reported the incident to police for their records.

The condition of the flower boxes vary along the pathway, she said.

“Some are really imaginative. It’s a nice thing, really,” she said. “People walk along here because it’s a bit quirky. We find people either love it or hate it!”

Ms Stokes said the incident of vandalism would not stop her caring for the flowers long term.

“I will leave them for a couple of weeks just so people can see,” she said.

“Then I suppose I’ll plant them up again because they look really ugly.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed it had put the flower boxes in place but said it was not responsible for maintaining them.

There was no requirement for houseboat owners to maintain the boxes, the spokesman said, adding that it was ‘entirely their decision’ if they wanted to do so.

The spokesman said it was a shame the boxes had been targeted by vandals.

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