'Someone knows what he is doing' - chair of Alma Road allotments Bill Chapman reports spread in allotment arson

This Is Local London: Plotholders Helen Toumazou, Kyriakos Angeli and Bill Chapman in the Alma Road allotments Plotholders Helen Toumazou, Kyriakos Angeli and Bill Chapman in the Alma Road allotments

Gardeners fear arson attacks on sheds around the borough could spark far wider destruction.

Bill Chapman, the chairman of the Alma Road allotments in Ponders End, claims vandals have crept into the allotments to burn down 13 sheds and break into another 14 since March last year.

The 72-year-old believes the night-time allotment attacks could be linked to those reported in the Enfield Independent last month, where eight fires were started in plots in Green Street in Enfield Highway over Christmas.

He said: “Someone knows what he is doing, It’s someone sat around who gets a kick out of burning sheds. I think it could be related to plot fires in Green Street.

“We haven’t had anything since three weeks ago but it looks as if he has got hold of a lighter somewhere and gone up there.

“There is no real evidence that anything has been stolen. It is a funny business, it looks as if it's just mischief making.”

He said one allotment holder was “heartbroken” after his shed was burnt down twice during the arson attacks. 

Although the fires have abated and have been reported to police, he is concerned that they will soon start again if the culprit is not found.

With almost 120 sheds on the site, a fire could lead to devastation if it spreads.

He said it is such a shame when people work so hard growing food in their plots for it to be destroyed in an act of wanton vandalism.

Helen Toumazou travels from her home in Chingford every day in the summer to grow vegetables.

The 58-year-old said: “It is very upsetting. There is nothing much we can do about it because it is happening in the night time – we can’t be there 24/7.

“We all worry about it because we have all got sheds there and every time we go up there, we think ‘is my shed still there?’ We don’t know what to do really.”

People pay Enfield Borough Council £79 per year to keep a plot, with pensioners paying £49 annually.

It is the plot holder's responsibility to replace the sheds when they are destroyed.

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