A green-fingered pensioner was left on the verge of tears after thieves raided his allotment – and stole the vegetables he was growing to see him through the winter.
Bill Mason was heartbroken when thieves raided his vegetable patch, because he’s now worried about how he’s going to feed himself later this year.
The 76-year-old spends between four and five hours per day working on his plot to supplement their pensions to see themselves through winter.
He says he will have to ration his food this winter after half of his potato crop, spring onions, beetroot, cabbages, lettuce, rhubarb and celeriac were stolen.
The retired engineering firm owner from Littlehampton, West Sussex, said: “I nearly cried when I saw it.
“They have taken my livelihood away for no reason at all.
“It is part of my pension; that is what hurts.
“I don’t do it for fun.
“In the last 15 years I’ve been on this plot I’ve never had so many crops stolen as I have done over the last week.
“It’s absolutely demoralising, I’m 76-years-old and quite frankly rely on this as part of my pension and to feed us and it’s been stolen.”
The lost portion of the potato crop equated to half a year’s supply for Bill and his partner.
He said they relied on the food from the crops to supplement their pensions and see them through winter but would now have to ration their food this year.
Bill added the £130 financial cost of the crops paled in comparison to the four or five hours of work he did each day that had now gone to waste.
He said this was the first time vegetables had been stolen from him from his allotment.
Calling for CCTV to be installed on the allotments, he said: “We get the odd vandal up there, but this was carefully planned; they took away what they pulled up.
“It made me feel sick to be honest.
“It is a joke; there is no security up there at all.”
A spokesman for Littlehampton Town Council said it would make the entrance more secure after buying land to the west of the site and apologised for the “distress and upset” the theft had caused.
Sussex Police are appealing for witnesses after he discovered the raid on July 2.
The green-fingered pensioner devastated after his allotment was raided had won Best Allotment in his town for three years in a row – while gardening with his late partner.
Bill Mason, 76, and his late partner Liz Brett, won Littlehampton Town Council’s annual Best Allotment award from 2007 to 2009, the year she passed away.
The council launched the annual Liz Brett and Bill Mason Commemorative Cup for best crop in tribute to her.
Bill, a dad-of-five, and great-grandfather, now has a new partner and most of his family live in Littlehampton.
His daughter Carol Thomas, 46, a writer for Ruby Fiction, said: “It’s heart-wrenching to see he was so sad. He was just devastated, imagine going up and seeing that gone.
“He works very hard on it. He pretty much does it everyday weather permitting, bearing in mind he’s 76.
“He just kept saying about how gutting it was.
“He’s very kind and generous – that’s the gutting thing really – if someone needed food, if they had gone to him and said, I need food’ he’s the kind of person that would have helped and n one needed to steal from him.
“We are really devastated for dad, we know how really hard he works on it. We all cannot believe that someone has done this and thought it was okay to take someone’s food like that.
“He’s done it of for an awful lot of years, he’s always had his books out planning what he was going to grow next.
“I can remember being a little girl and going to his allotment with him. It has always been a part of his life and he’s made it part of ours.
“He was generally at his happiest there. I think it was because it was so different from his work and he enjoys reaping the benefits of what he grows.
“He’s always had a love of allotments.
“Him and his partner did one together and won the local allotment cup three years in a row, for Best Allotment in Littlehampton.”