VANDALS and vegetable thieves have destroyed a therapy garden for those with mental health needs.

Crooks broke into the Trust Links garden in Shoebury over two nights.

They stole hundreds of grown vegetables, smashed a guinea pig run, flooded the garden and smashed CCTV cameras.

Chief executive Matt King said: “The first time was a bit bizarre.

“A man climbed into our garden and dug up about 200 potatoes and 50 onions. They had been growing since spring.

“It was just one man but is possible if you are a good digger.

“The next time, two youths got into the garden and messed about with a tap in one of the growing tunnels and flooded the whole garden.

“We have a run for our guinea pigs and they smashed that.

“It was lucky but the guinea pigs were shut away safely at the time, otherwise it would have been total devastation.

“The damage is in the region of about £500 and it is devastating to see all our hard work be ruined like that.

“It just feels like mindless vandalism, we all work so hard to make it a nice place.

“It really knocks our morale when this happens like this.”

The charity boss said it is the schoolchildren, youth group and visitors who lose out when yobs vandalise the garden.

He said the charity now needs to look into more increased security which it has done previously.

He added the money needed to fix the damage does not come easily.

Mr King said: “We will be setting up an online funding page and asking for donations. “It should be set up very soon and will be on our website and social media pages.

“This latest incident has set us back quite a bit.”

The charity was formed in 2000, and operates the garden on the corner of Fairfax Drive and Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff.

The organisation aims to providing support to improve mental health and wellbeing, along with promoting, inspiring and cultivating wellness and sustainable living.

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