Firm's £1,000 reward to catch vandals

A local firm is offering a £1,000 reward to try to catch vandals who are targeting and destroying their Christmas signs around the area.
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Bell’s Gardening Outlet – the retail arm of Bell’s Horticultural wholesale plant nursery in Benington – has seen hundreds of pounds worth of signs for its Christmas trees destroyed.

It is the second year in a row that the family business has been targeted in such a way, and it says it is getting tired of the attacks.

The company says it has strong ties with the local community and gives more than £10,000 a year to support local projects and charities.

But it warns that if it keeps having to pay for the vandalism then it is would not be able to afford to give so much back.

The firm says the signs being targeted are those adverting Christmas Trees for sale.

Every year, the company opens a festive Christmas Tree Courtyard, to run alongside their Elves workshop, famous Poinsettia house and See Santa in a Christmas Tree Woods.

Carl Presgrave, a senior manager at Bell’s, said: “We run so many activities and promotions which we advertise locally in the same way, yet it’s only ever the Christmas Tree signs that get vandalised”

Carl said; “It started last year with odd signs here and there being taken, but this year we’ve already had hundreds of pounds worth of signs destroyed. Nothing advertising our other activities, only the Christmas Trees for sale”.

One of the signs, which has been targeted three times already this month, is situated on Burton House roundabout, close to the Pilgrim Hospital.

Robert Bell, managing director at Bell’s, said: “The Burton signs near the Pilgrim are quite poignant really.

“We have for quite some time now donated trees to both the Pilgrim Hospital for the main entrance, and the Butterfly Hospice nearby, along with various schools and charities we donate trees to. These would be the ones to lose out if our costs keep rising due to this deliberate vandalism.

“We would simply not be able to afford to give what we give, which would really devastate us, as we love contributing to the local community. It’s a cliché I know, but it’s really what Christmas is all about”.

The company is offering a cash reward of £1000 for evidence leading to the conviction of those who are responsible.

Lincolnshire Police have opened an investigation, and would like any information reported, quoting Incident Reference number 297241218. Bell’s can be contacted via the Bell’s Gardening Outlet Facebook page.