Heartless arsonists destroy Lewes allotment group’s shelter

Lesley Healey (front) and allotment members. Photo by Peter Cripps
Lesley Healey (front) and allotment members. Photo by Peter Cripps

A Lewes allotment group has expressed its sadness after heartless arsonists destroyed its shelter.

Vandals set fire to the shelter at the Nevill Allotments in Highdown Road last weekend, demolishing it completely.

Photo by Peter Cripps

Photo by Peter Cripps

Lesley Healey, a member of the Lewes Community Allotment project, said: “It was quite a shock. We didn’t find out until Sunday morning.

“We have had lots of litter problems and a bit of vandalism – but this is the biggest incident yet. We are very saddened by the fire.”

Lewes Community Allotment is run by Common Cause – a not-for-profit social enterprise supporting the local community.

The shelter was used by community groups, but was a frequent venue for youths to hang out in the evenings, Mrs Healey said.

The 61-year-old, who lives in the Nevill Estate, said the allotment has been targeted by vandals for some time.

“Every weekend there are youngsters making a lot of noise and we have come up to find a lot of litter,” she said.

“But we have just cleared it up and accepted it as it is a public place. But the allotment is not public land – we rent it from the council.”

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Mrs Healey said a resident in Highdown Road heard loud music after midnight on Friday, prompting them to go and see what was going on.

“The resident went down and there was an altercation about turning the music down,” she said.

“When they went home they saw flames, so the fire service was called.

“It was a boiling hot day, it could have been much worse, the flames could have hit the trees. It is a national park.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “We received a call from a member of the public reporting a fire at a shelter at Highdown Road allotments sometime between Sunday, June 30 and Monday, July 1.

“Anyone with information can contact the police online at www.sussex.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us or call 101, quoting serial 507 of 02/7.”