A GREEN-fingered residents group preparing for a visit from East Midlands in Bloom judges have been accused of pulling out plants on police land – after being told to stay away.
Last year Caistor in Bloom (CIB) won gold status at the annual horticultural competition - but this year the group is hoping to become the overall winner of the small town category.
Determined to make the town look its best ahead of an important judging day, CIB members pulled out “dead” plants from the grounds of the town’s police station - and replaced them with others they thought would make a better impression.
But PC Chris Bell said he had told the group to leave the land alone and was annoyed they had done the work anyway.
PC Bell had been a CIB member but left the group after this incident and several complaints from residents.
He explained: “Members have asked people to tidy up their gardens, they were quite pushy, and this has resulted in a few unofficial complaints. These complaints are coming to me.
“I don’t want to be associated with a group that’s generating complaints.
“They asked to come and change some of the plantings and I said no, but they came and did it anyway.”
But Debroah Barker, who is a CIB member and Caistor town councillor, insists PC Bell did not reply to her e-mail asking to do the work.
Speaking at a Caistor Town Council meeting, where the issue was discussed, Coun Barker said: “I can’t understand what the problem is really. The judging was on a certain date and I did go to the police and they didn’t reply.
“I’m sure if they didn’t want us to do it an e-mail would have come firing back. We thought they were far too busy on the beat.
“We went in and tidied up, we made sure the plants were dead. We thought they might be quite pleased with that.”
Coun Juliet Savage said: “It’s not their land. It’s land that’s owned by the police. No-one has the right to go on that land and there was no consideration to that.
“It’s a misunderstanding and it really needs to be diffused. Caistor in Bloom are doing a tremendous job.”
Caistor Mayor John Burns-Salmond said: “I’m sure the relationship between you (CIB) and the police can be restored. If you don’t get a reply it doesn’t mean you can do it.”
Results of the East Midlands in Bloom competition will be announced in September.