The Red Machine Allotment site has had a lot of exposure to low level crime for example, sheds being broken into and contents scattered around, tools or equipment stolen, glass in greenhouses smashed, crops dug up or seeds destroyed. This has been ad hoc vandalism with no pattern. There has been very little reporting of this anti social behaviour to the Police usually out of frustration that the Police ‘aren’t interested’ or ‘they can’t or won’t do anything’. Poor infrastructure particularly gaps n the perimeter fencing and access points via either Barnes Park or Canal Farm Allotments, both bordering onto the Red Machine site.
Following conversation with Northumbria Police and one of the local ward Councillors, the Allotment Association decided to submit two funding applications one to Northumbria Police’s Participatory budget scheme and the other to the West Area Community Chest. Both of these applications were successful and the Association secured £240 from Sunderland City Council and £100 from Northumbria Police.
The project aimed to promote the reporting of any incident involving plot holders. The Police addressed an Association general meeting and a contact number printed in the site notice board. The funding was used to purchase two new locks for the site gates. The Police also provided a DNA kit for the Association to promote to plot holders to use on large pieces of equipment. For smaller equipment the police gave the Association 50 marker pens. ‘Thieves Beware’ notices were fitted to the entrance gates to warn anyone thinking entering the site to commit crime. The DNA kit means that any property can be marked with an individual DNA code that is registered to the allotments. The project was covered in the Sunderland Echo, and the outcomes were
- The distribution of marker pens to members of Red Machine Allotments.
- DNA markings to protect large equipment located throughout our site.
- Funding and construction of a perimiter fence around the paths.