Green eyes and green fingers: did envy lead to arson attack on award-winning allotments?
Four years of hard work destroyed in a few hours, say grandfathers
Adam Sherwin is Media Correspondent at The Independent and an award-winning writer who specialises in covering the entertainment, broadcasting, music and popular culture industries. Previously Media writer and diarist at The Times, he was a co-founder of the Beehive City media and entertainment website. As regular contributor to BBC London 94.9 Radio station, he was named Music Business writer of the year at the awards of influential music industry site Record of the Day in 2006.
Monday 12 August 2013
A pair of green-fingered grandfathers from Kent believe that they are being targeted by "jealous" arsonists after their award-winning allotments were torched.
Roy Brookman, 78, and Bill Boag, a 64-year-old retired policeman, claimed the first and second prizes in this year's Bexley in Bloom competition.
But the Sidcup pair were left devastated after their plots were destroyed by fire last Sunday evening. Firefighters were called to the blaze which broke out at around 9pm.
"Both our sheds were totally burnt to the ground - it's so depressing," said Mr Brookman, who suspects that the fire may have been set in retaliation for his unbeaten record at Bexley in Bloom. He followed up a Best Allotment Plot victory last October with further success this Summer.
"We don't know what happened. There could be jealousy going on," he suggested. "We can't say anything and accuse anyone but that's what we think. We got first and second prize at the Bexley in Bloom competition in July."
Mr Brookman, a retired bus driver, and Mr Boag regularly tend to their crops at the allotments in Sidcup, Kent.
Mr Brookman said the blaze destroyed not only the displays and crops at the allotment he has cultivated for the last five years, but also his shed which housed a cooker, tools and tunnels.
The grandfather of six said: "It could cost £500 to £600 to replace but it's not just the expense, the work we've put in. Four years of hard work destroyed in a few hours. So many tools and memories of keepsakes."
Around 10 firefighters in two fire engines from Sidcup station managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to the entire allotment. Smoke could be seen billowing out over the rail track which runs behind the plots. Bexley police confirmed that they are treating the blaze, which broke out during National Allotments Week, as suspicious.
Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road