Double theft breaks gardeners’ hearts

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Double theft breaks gardeners’ hearts thumbnailFRANCIE and Maura McStay have hit out at damage to their prized garden. MGP2804

AN elderly couple from Newry said they have been left devastated after thieves ransacked their prized garden twice in the space of just one week.
Francie and Maura McStay from the Armagh Road can be seen on a daily basis tendering and trimming their front garden - which attracts inquisitive eyes everyday with its vast collection of figures, gnomes, colours and animal statuettes.
But the garden has been targeted by thieves twice in just seven days; first, a gnome was lifted from the garden, and days later two iron statues of dogs that proudly sat on each gate pillar were screwed off and stolen.
And while the ornaments stolen are not of any great monetary value, the double thefts have gutted the keen gardeners.
“Maura was upset by it. She spends all her time in the garden trying to make it look as nice as possible," Francie told the Democrat.
“Nothing like that has happened here in the 11 years we lived here. The stuff doesn't cost a lot of money, but it's the principle of the thing.
“Maura has arthritis and likes nothing more than getting out and working away at the garden, so she's really upset that someone has come along and done this."
While it is assumed that someone simply jumped over the garden wall and lifted the gnome, the theft of the iron dogs appears to have been premotivated, and possibly, according to Francie, stolen to order.
He said that it would have taken a crowbar and strong arms to have taken the dogs.
He added: "The dogs were bought years ago and you can't get them anymore. They're between 8" and 10" and quite heavy. I had them screwed in with fisher fixtures, so it would have taken a crowbar or something to prise the up and get them off.
“So it wasn't kids; kids couldn't lift them and you surely couldn't carry them too far.
“I noticed two weeks ago that one of the dogs was loose from the pillar but I never thought anything of it and screwed it back in properly.
“I think someone must have been checking to see if they could be removed and then returned to take them. They're not worth much money, but a neighbour told me they've probably been stolen to order. This is a nice area to live so it's disappointing."
Family friend Jacinta Duffy said she was saddened by the double theft.
She added: "Francie and Maura put so much effort into their beautiful garden so it's really disappointing to think someone would come along and steal from it. Hopefully those responsible are caught and the ornaments."

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