A 50-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to theft after she was found with a vast number of flowers and plants in her vehicle that she had stolen from Queen Elizabeth Park [QEP].
A police spokesperson told the Times-Age that the woman was seen stealing and putting flowers and plants in her vehicle at QEP at around 6.30am on September 3.
She was pulled over by police just before 10am on Kirton St, Masterton.
According to yesterday’s meeting agenda for the Masterton District Council [MDC] infrastructure and services committee, a conservative estimate of the cost of the resulting damage and loss is $4392 – which also takes into account staff time to replant. An MDC spokesperson said the woman has been trespassed from QEP for 12 months and ordered to pay $1000 in reparations.
“These are the community’s gardens, intended for the enjoyment of all. A lot of time and effort goes into ensuring they are of the highest quality. We are pleased a strong message has been sent about this unacceptable behaviour,” community activities and facilities manager Corin Haines said.
“Anyone seeing anything suspicious of this nature in any of our parks and gardens should call the police.”
Police were unable to comment on what the woman’s motive was for stealing the plants and flowers.
A little further digging unearthed the following list of plants and flowers the woman stole or damaged:
From the Winter Garden, two magnolia trees each had more than 10 flowering branches taken, leaving bad pruning cuts, and 100-plus mature two-year-old hellebores were decimated, ruining the season’s display.
From Coronation Hall, three daphne were taken and hundreds of flowers removed, ruining the season’s display, while loropetalums were also damaged.
At the Band Rooms, rhododendrons were hacked for the flowers.
Over 30 Polyanthus and at least five Lavender plants were stolen from Hosking Garden.
A large number of Poppies were stolen from both the Come Sew with Me and Hosking Gardens.