North London plant thefts leave traders blooming fuming

A string of recent plant thefts has left business owners across north London dismayed over the safety of their outdoor vegetation.

In addition to the pilfering of the West Hampstead pathway reported in the Ham & High last week, three other plant sites have also been sullied.

Liz Ixer, a former teacher, caught an older woman pulling flowers out of a community garden in Haringey a few weeks ago.

Despite scolding her, flowers continued to disappear from the four planter boxes. Ms Ixer has determined that the crimes occurred during the early mornings.

“I don’t know if it is the same person, but I think it is someone taking them for their own garden,” she said.

“They keep coming back and taking more because they think they won’t get caught.

“It is a bit disturbing when you are trying to garden for the street and people keep stealing.”

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Pessimistic that putting notices up would stop them, Ms Ixer turned to the use of wit instead.

“We must out-garden them,” she said.

“We just have to be canny and try to think of things that people might not take because they could damage them, or be too heavy.”

A potted plant outside Wet Fish Caf� on West End Lane, West Hampstead was also taken on Friday night.

The owner, Andre Millodot, said: “It happened in a blink of an eye. We were clearing up and went into the caf� for a brief moment. When we came back the plant was gone.

“We searched around the block for it, but found nothing.”

Mr Millodot has offered a reward of dinner for two for the safe return of his plant.

“It didn’t seem like a carefully planned heist. Probably it was just a drunkard,” he added.

Meanwhile, new, heavier plants have been attached more securely.

In another incident nearby, Achillea flower shop on Mill Lane was targeted over the weekend, but the thief was unsuccessful.

Co-owner Kate Rader said: “Whoever it was pulled a plant out, but because we wired them in they couldn’t raise it up.

“I just think it is sad. We have window boxes outside, and we hoped that people understood that they weren’t to be taken.”