Vandals have struck at a flower bed at a popular spot in a Northumberland market town in broad daylight.
Flowers were ripped from the bed at Alnwick, close to the town’s historic Tenantry Column and Barter Books store, on Sunday morning or afternoon.
The site is on a main road into Alnwick, visible to people coming into the town from the Duchess of Northumberland’s Alnwick Garden, and a “focal point” of the community’s efforts in flower competitions.
The vandalism has sparked widespread anger, including among those responsible for the town’s entries in those ‘In Bloom’ competitions.
The flower bed is in the front garden of Column Cottage on Bondgate Without, a property rented from the Duke of Northumberland by retired 63 year old Jane Gowland.
Mrs Gowland went out at around 11am on Sunday and returned at 7pm to find red and gold flowers from the display - chosen as they are the traditional colours of Northumberland - had been ripped out of the bed and left on the grass surrounding it.
She said: “It is not on, it is something that is planted for the benefit of everyone.
“It is a display beside a main entrance to the town, it is quite a shame.
“Somebody has come and run through my garden, I have people in doing this while I have been out, which is not nice.
“I just have the feeling it has been kids. They have ran through and grabbed handfuls.
“There is always a minority that will cause trouble I am sure.”
The bed is planted by Northumberland County Council and maintained by Alnwick Town Council with the Alnwick in Bloom team, winners of a gold award for best small town in Northumbria in Bloom last year and waiting on the 2014 results, organising regular cuts of the grass around the bed.
In Bloom chairman Elizabeth Jones said the incident appeared “vindictive” and spoke of the importance of the site to her team and the town in general.
“Alnwick in Bloom has concentrated quite a bit in trying to get people to get engaged in this particular area.
“It is a very focal point in town because as the visitors come up from Alnwick Garden, that is the first thing they see and as they go out on to the road into town.”
The incident also sparked anger on Facebook with one user writing: “How appalling! It will have been locals too full of drink no doubt. A shameful act and one that needs to be addressed by the police.“