By Bethany Gleave
A green-fingered thief armed with a trowel and plastic bag has been caught on camera appearing to steal £80 worth of plants and a hanging basket from a newly renovated garden.
Matthew Jones and Kirsty Dykes were devastated when they opened their front door on Monday morning to find their floral display had been ruined.
The couple from Warrington, Cheshire, originally thought their hanging basket had been pinched by an opportunistic drunk on their way home from the pub.
But they were stunned when they realised the basket and multiple plants had been stolen in a ‘pre-meditated plant heist’.
CCTV footage from outside their house shows the alleged thief, who appears to be female, creeping into the front garden before carefully digging around the shrubs.
She then appears to stuff the loot into a plastic bag before making off with the couple’s hanging basket too.
HGV driver Matthew, 31, has since launched an appeal to find the brazen thief who ruined his and 32-year-old Kirsty’s hard work.
Matthew said: “I never even knew that people did things like this.
“We’d been renovating the house and just finished the front garden, Overall we had spent £200 on it.
“She stole around £80 worth of that which is a big dent.
“I’m just glad the thief didn’t have a bigger plastic bag on her so couldn’t carry any more plants away.
“When we realised the hanging basket and plants were missing Kirsty and I thought it was just a drunk from the pub that’d walked past and thought it would be funny.
“Then I saw the CCTV footage and realised it wasn’t a drunk but a woman passing by with a trowel and a bag.
“I was really shocked when Kirsty told me and when I saw the footage.
“I felt like jumping into the screen and asking her what she thought she was doing.
“It was a premeditated flower heist.
“I had put the hanging baskets quite high up, so I have no idea how she managed to get them down.
“But she does go missing for a while in the video, so she might have struggled getting it down.
“I think she would have had to climb a part of the house so she could get it down.
“You just don’t think that people even do this, let alone that it would happen to you.
“You just think no one is going to rob your hanging baskets.”
Since the theft Matthew has been debating whether to replace the missing shrubs as he’s worried the alleged thief may return.
Matthew said: “I just think why should we make the effort to make something look nice if someone is just going to do this?
“We don’t know if when we plant more they will get stolen too so we don’t want to waste our money.”
A spokesperson for Cheshire Constabulary said: “At 9pm on May 17 officers were called to reports of a theft at an address in Warrington.
“The caller reported that at approximately 8.30pm on Sunday May 13 an unknown person had entered their garden and stolen a quantity of plants.
“Enquiries in relation to the incident are ongoing and anyone with any information is asked to call Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 18100141485.”