CUSTODIANS are refusing to walk away after vandals and thieves laid siege to a multi award winning borough urban oasis at the heart of its community.
Heartbroken volunteers whose long hour and green fingers created the stunning Town Green Public Garden in Ashton woke to find that well over a third of the now well established bedding plants had been dug up with spades and stolen in a night time raid.
While mindless yobs had made a point of snapping off every single one of the six foot high fruit trees in the rare English breeds orchard, leaving only a pathetic looking two in stub.
So many plants were stolen over a single night that officials believe that it must have required a “fleet” of wheel barrows to carry the plant booty away.
The garden - which has transformed an area of open land in Ashton once occupied by rows of terraced homes - has taken at least £100,000 in grants and cash awards to create over the past five years.
It is so renowned that the team behind it were invited to the horticulturally famed channel island of Guernsey last summer to represent the Metro’s efforts in Britain in Bloom ... and proudly returned home with ey another prestigious title.
Town Green Garden Committee’s driving force, Coun Ann Rampling - who lives in Bolton Road almost directly opposite - admitted that the committee who have spent so much effort making the once barren area bloom felt like “washing our hands of it and walking away” when the devastation was discovered.
But they have now taken a decision to rebuild grants permitting the garden after a fresh review of security. She said: “I am so upset for the community who have worked very hard supporting us physically and also financially.”