By Mitchell Clarke
More than $2500 worth of stock has been stolen from the Pakenham Community Garden in an act of cruelty which has left volunteers devastated.
Volunteers made the disappointing discovery on Monday 1 June, that a garden shed and storage shed had been broken into at the garden.
The community garden hosted a working bee the day prior, which finished at 4.30pm, so it’s believed the brazen burgle occurred sometime between late Sunday afternoon and 9.30am on Monday morning.
The community garden is open and free for local residents to visit and taste seasonal produce.
Pakenham Community Garden coordinator Max Godber said volunteers were “devastated” to have been targeted in the theft.
“As you can imagine we’re pretty devastated that as a community service we have been targeted in this theft,” he said.
“Maybe they didn’t realise that the community garden is entirely dependent on donations and generous volunteer support to keep the garden running.
“We simply don’t have any core funding to be able to easily purchase replacements of this stolen equipment.”
An electric chainsaw, which was used to prune the larger branches of fruit trees, and a petrol powered shredder used to turn branches into woodchip mulch was taken from the locked sheds.
“Given that the shredder is quite large and heavy, the people would’ve needed a Ute or trailer to take it away,” he said.
“If it was a random, opportunistic theft, they would’ve come prepared.”
The incident was reported to Victoria Police however Mr Godber hopes those responsible will feel a sense of guilt and do the right thing by returning the stolen goods.
“We encourage the people to return the equipment and no questions will be asked or charges laid,” he said.
If anyone has information regarding the possible whereabouts of the items, please contact the Pakenham Community Garden at firstname.lastname@example.org.