In April this year, a community garden, UrbanScape, was finally built after many years of campaigning by a then 14-year-old, who formed Mulgrave Street Action Group CIC (MSAG) in their school holidays of 2021, to radically transform the area in which they lived for the better.
What was once a former wasteland plagued by flytipping and an eyesore for community members and visitors, has been transformed into a green escape in an urban place.
Working closely with volunteers, community organizations, local activists, Liverpool Street Scene (LSS) and Local Councillors, MSAG have managed to maintain the space allowing the Community Garden plans to commence.
Funded by LCR Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s Community Environment Fund, and supported by Riverside MP Kim Johnson, the vision became a reality. Since the launch of the space, MSAG and UrbanScape have been plagued with thieves helping themselves to plants, shrubs and flowers from the garden.
The first major incident was in May 2023, when 18 of the large plants were stolen leaving the area baron and full of holes.
A number of days later a wheelbarrow was stolen, which was lifted over the locked gates meant to deter thieves whilst the garden recovered.
Small pockets of theft did occur afterwards and MSAG needed to do something about it. MSAG fought back and initiated a Just Giving page to finance the replacement plants and to install security cameras to deter any future incidents, which was well received and supported by B&Q. Two replanting days were organized on 24 June followed by a second attended by GoodGym Liverpool, on 26 June.
On 1 July a man was seen in the garden acting suspiciously and scoping out the grounds. On 3 July around 8pm, whilst the street was active, the same man entered the garden and proceeded to fill a plastic bag full of plants he ripped out with his hands.
However, he was aware he was being watched by passers-by, so stored the bag behind the Olive Tree. He left on a bright pink bike with brown basket to the front.
Between 8pm and midnight on 3 July, he made several journeys to the garden removing the plants he had stored, taking more and finally ripping out a number of large sunflower plants that were yet to bloom.
Merseyside Police Community Inspector Dave Uren said, “The Mulgrave Square Action Group, who created this green space, work hard to make positive changes for people living in the area by improving the environment for residents to enjoy.
“It beggars belief that someone would undo that work for their own selfishness and greed, removing the colour and vibrancy these plants brought to the street.
“We are exploring CCTV opportunities in the area as we work to bring the male responsible to justice.
“I would ask that anyone who recognises the description or who has seen plants turn up at an address unexpectedly on Tuesday morning to contact us. Any information about suspicious activity in the area would be welcomed, as well as any CCTV and we would love to hear from anyone who was passing at the time in a vehicle and may have caught any part of the incident on dashcam.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact us via our social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ with reference 23000599586.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information