FLOWERS were strewn across the pavement when vandals targeted a New Milton high street display just over a week before judging for an entry into a national contest.
Offenders are believed to have targeted the three-tiered planter in Mallard Court at the northern end of Station Road during Saturday night, uprooting eight geraniums.
The display was one of many put together across the area by town council grounds workers, as well as local community and schools groups.
Having been awarded the prestigious silver gilt in its first two years of entering the South & South East in Bloom contest, New Milton has again been entered into this but is also in the running for the main Britain in Bloom contest.
As reported in the A&T, the regional judging took place earlier this month and the national panel of judges is due to cast its eye on the town’s blooms on Monday.
Although stressing the damage to the Station Road planter was “minimal” and easily put right, town council estates and facilities manager Mark Jeffries admitted it caused some frustration.
“it is disappointing, especially with all the hard work that community groups as well as our grounds staff have put into the displays in this town.
“There have been so many positive comments about how the town looks, both in its tidiness and the quality of its flower displays.
“We’re certainly not going to let this incident take the shine off it. It’s annoying, but onwards and upwards and we’re excited about the judging on Monday.”
Residents took to a local Facebook page to express their disgust at the act of criminal damage.
One posted: “Get so fed up with the way some people treat this town. It’s looking lovely and all ready for Britain in Bloom, please don’t spoil it with mindless vandalism.”
Another commented: “Wish people would enjoy and appreciate instead of ruining it for others.”