Manager Lex Freeman (far right) with the staff team at Autism Together’s Bromborough Pool Village garden centre, which thieves have targeted twice in the last two weeks.

Bromborough Pool community to set up Neighbourhood Watch

Thieves have twice targeted a charity-run garden centre and landscaping business in Bromborough Pool Village, Wirral, causing thousands of pounds of damage in overnight raids and traumatising some of the people with autism who work there.

The community company, which earlier this year won a national award for its services to people with autism, is run by Autism Together, the former Wirral Autistic Society.  Seventeen people with autism are involved in running the garden centre, gift shop, café and spin-off landscaping business.

Autism Together’s Lex Freeman, who runs the community company, said, ” I’m up the wall.  These burglars have stolen from us and also needlessly vandalised our furniture.  But more importantly, they have destroyed the peace of mind of some very vulnerable people with autism who have work placements here.  Several of our service users have become extremely anxious and are worried that their own residences are going to be targeted during the night.”

The burglars plundered storage sheds containing garden equipment such as strimmers and hedge-cutters.  They also destroyed the garden centre office, ripping a safe off the wall and trashing office furniture.

Some of the items stolen are irreplaceable:

  • Staff had organised a Macmillan coffee morning, baking cakes and selling them to raise money for charity.  All this money has been stolen.
  • Staff had each contributed to a deposit for a Christmas night out at the Bromborough Village hotel.  They have been unable to pay their deposit in time and have now lost their chance for a party at this local hotel.
  • One team member had been selling her own hand-made greetings cards to help raise money for a PPL (Phonograph Performance Ltd) licence which would have allowed a radio to be played in the cafe.  All this money has now vanished.

Lex Freeman said, “We’re aware of a spate of burglaries in Bromborough Pool Village – sheds and cars have been targeted.  Here at the garden centre we’ve beefed up our security considerably.  A Neighbourhood Watch committee has been established locally and we have offered our café as a regular meeting point.”

Community members wanting to find out more about the new Neighbourhood Watch scheme can contact the garden centre at: 0151 643 1359