Harrogate is rightly rated as one of the most pleasant places to live in Britain.
Yet even we are not immune to the petty crime and vandalism that blights many a town and city in this country.
I was reminded of this at the weekend at Claro Road allotments, when 19 sheds were either broken into or left with their doors ajar (several of the older and cannier plotholders never padlock their sheds precisely to avoid such damage).
I understand that St Andrews allotments in Starbeck suffered from a similar ‘visitation’ last week.
What were the thieves expecting to find?
Old spades and forks, perhaps, that can be bought new for a fiver or stored potatoes, onions and apples from last year’s harvest?
Our own shed had a strimmer without battery, a child’s bike painted yellow for Le Grand Depart in 2014, a staple gun and an asparagus knife, all tossed away nearby when the miscreants realised how ‘worthless’ they were.
Significant and costly damage, nonetheless, was inflicted on doors, hinges and padlocks.
Of course, the most valuable items to any plotholder in their sheds are the seeds and plants for this year’s harvest, which have little or no value at all to any thief.
Harrogate allotments represent a valuable communal asset used by a wide range of local people.
They contribute positively to the health, wildlife and environment of our town.
Indeed, they played a significant part in Harrogate winning its category in last year’s ‘Britain in Bloom’ and as such assist in making our town such a pleasant tourist destination as well as a great place to live.
So, all we can do is shake our heads at the wanton destruction carried out by those few anti-social individuals who live in our midst and hope that either they grow up or wise up sooner rather than later.
Like all gardeners, allotmenteers are great optimists.
Dr John Russell