Retired couple in Hemsby being terrorised by garden thugs

Ron and Chris Painter in their Hemsby garden.

Ron and Chris Painter in their Hemsby garden. - Credit: Archant

A couple in their 70s are being terrorised by “mindless thugs” who have been targeting their beloved garden on the east coast of Norfolk for years.

How the garden looked before the vandalism and theft.

How the garden looked before the vandalism and theft. - Credit: Archant

Ron and Chris Painter dedicate themselves to their front garden in Martham Road, Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth – growing flowers from seed and decorating the well-kept lawn with ornaments bought for special occasions.

But what they hoped would be a peaceful retirement on the Norfolk coast is being shattered by vandals and thieves who are repeatedly damaging flower beds, pulling up plants and stealing.

Last weekend Mr Painter, 73, woke up on Father’s Day to find a wooden windmill ornament, bought for the couple by their daughters as a gift for their Golden Wedding anniversary, had been prised from its stand and carried off.

The thieves managed to avoid setting off the security lights or being caught on CCTV camera - which the Painters had installed in a desperate attempt to deter thieves - by hauling the three-foot tall black and white windmill over the neighbour’s wall.

And it is only the latest heartache for the retired couple who say they have been targeted since they moved to Hemsby from the Midlands 16 years ago.

Just days earlier, plants were ripped from their pots and strewn over the lawn.

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“You wouldn’t believe what’s been taken over the years,” said Mr Painter, 73.

“You feel targeted. I just don’t understand why it’s happening.”

Police are now appealing for witnesses for the most recent theft.

nSee today’s Mercury for the full story.