Hedges no barrier to theft

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The Independent Online
GARDEN gnomes have long been victim to late-night petty theft and mystery disappearances while stately homes have complained of light-fingered visitors pinching plants, writes Martin Whitfield.

But gardeners in south Oxfordshire villages have been warned to watch out for a new line in botanic crime - the removal of complete and well-tended hedges.

Lengths of popular Leyland conifers have been stolen on successive nights from the gardens of Cray's Pond, Woodcote and Streatley on Thames. For good measure the thieves also took a statue of a cherub and a water trough from one garden.

June Williams, who had a 40ft piece of hedge uprooted from the front garden of her home in Cray's Pond, said: 'I couldn't believe what had happened . . . I had a good laugh about it but it will cost about pounds 400 to replace.'

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