Allotment holders are planting thorny bushes around their sites to stop intruders getting in.

Keen gardeners are resorting to natural barbed wire – hawthorn, blackthorn and dog rose bushes – to deter vandals and arsonists, who have been blighting some of Brighton and Hove’s 37 allotment sites.

Some 2,000 of the plants were delivered last week and planted in Race Hill Farm allotments, where there are 176 plots, and Whitehawk allotments, where there are 81 plots, over the weekend.

Gary Johnson, plot holders’ liaison officer at Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation, said: “At Race Hill we have had shed break-ins and tools being stolen.

“Sheds have also been targeted at Whitehawk and we have also had a shed fire, but I don’t know if that was arson or an accident.

“Three sheds were also burnt down at Weald in Hove at the beginning of the year and there have been various people going through the allotments, sheds broken into, that sort of thing.

“It’s just a case of figuring out how to keep the little darlings out.”

The bushes have been branded intruder proof by the hedging company they were bought from.

Mr Johnson added: “At the moment the council won’t allow barbed wire on any of the perimeter fences because someone might get hurt if they try and climb over so we tried to come up with another solution.”

Upsetting for owners

Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation is also setting up an allotment watch scheme with the police to try to increase security on the sites.

Mr Johnson, who has had an allotment at Whitehawk for two years, said: “A lot of the time, unless people have got an allotment, they don’t really realise the impact vandalism has.

“To them it’s only a shed. Sheds have little of value inside for thieves but it’s upsetting for the owners.

“We’re just trying to do lots of little things to make the allotments more secure and to put people off.”

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