Allotment greenhouses “targeted by students”, claim gardeners

June 22, 2012 No Comments »

Zahar Hassan, aged 77, with one of the panes of glass from his greenhouse on Allensbank allotments which were smashed.

Allotment owners claim student vandals in Cardiff have smashed their greenhouses by hurling missiles from their off-campus flats.

Gardeners contacted police after about seven panes of glass were shattered in two greenhouses at Allensbank allotments, Heath, and said objects were lobbed from high-rise student accommodation next door.

Witnesses say items including stones, bottles, potatoes, eggs and a jam jar were thrown at the greenhouses after tensions rose between students and several allotment plot holders.

But no-one will face prosecution or university disciplinary action because South Wales Police have been unable to identify who was responsible.

Grandad-of-three Zahar Hassan was one of the plot holders whose greenhouse was smashed. The 77-year-old, of Cathays, said: “I want them to pay money for my greenhouse.”

His daughter Nasreen said her dad, who does not speak fluent English, and other allotment holders had previously experienced issues with the neighbouring student population.

The retail worker, 34, said: “At the end of the day, it’s vandalism.”

Tensions between the allotment owners and students on the Allensbank site escalated several weeks ago. Some allotment holders were frustrated with students accidentally kicking footballs into their plots, with South Wales Police becoming involved.

A small number of students in the Allensbank House private university accommodation – which houses some 380 students – then allegedly threw missiles to smash the greenhouses.

The off-campus student accommodation is shared by students from Cardiff University and about 150 from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

A spokesman for Cardiff University said the incident did not involve any of its students.

Cardiff Metropolitan University said police were unable to identify who exactly was responsible and so disciplinary action could not be taken.

A university spokesman said:

“We take any such incident extremely seriously and have been in correspondence with a complainant regarding this matter.”

Paul Watson, operation policy manager at Liberty Living, which runs the accommodation, said:

“We have taken appropriate action from our point of view and referred it onto the university and have actively encouraged the involvement of the police.”

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