Plea to stop ‘malicious’ vandals targeting Sheffield farm

Supported learners at heeley City Farm with the repaired pollytunnel after vandals broke in and wrecked the contents

Supported learners at heeley City Farm with the repaired pollytunnel after vandals broke in and wrecked the contents

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A Sheffield community venue has pleaded with vandal teenagers to stop targeting a group of vulnerable learning disabled people who use the site.

Staff at Heeley City Farm say the popular and well-loved centre has been repeatedly hit with ‘vindictive and malicious’ attacks costing thousands to fix.

The venue also plays host to a group of learning disabled people who grow vegetables in a tunnel, which has been viciously ransacked time and again.

Garden centre worker Helen Shaw said: “The level of destruction is disgusting. I was speechless when I saw what they had done.

“It’s very vindictive. They are cutting electric cables in such a way that they cannot be repaired.

“They have damaged tools, smashed plant pots and tipped compost all over the floor.”

The group grows herbs and vegetables in the tunnel, which are then sold in the centre’s shop to raise money for the charity.

Ms Shaw said: “It has got to the point where you feel sick on your way in as you don’t expect to find it intact.

“It’s malicious, but for them it’s just a bit of fun.

“I want to tell these people to just please stop it, because you are targeting a very vulnerable group.”

Staff at the centre have reported the issues to South Yorkshire Police and also have CCTV pictures of some of the perpetrators’ faces.

Youth worker Iain Jones estimated the damage from the latest attack could be as much as £6,000 – which he says the charity can ill-afford.

An online fundraising campaign has been set up to help repair the damage and improve security.

The appeal, Let’s Keep Heeley City Farm Safe, was created in response to the latest attack.

The online letter said: “This campaign aims to raise the funds to restore the farm, fix what has been broken and pay for security equipment so it doesn’t happen again.

“Heeley City Farm grew from a campaign in 1981 by local people to develop a piece of wasteland into a multi faceted community organisation.

“Let’s get the people of Sheffield to contribute again to help save Heeley City Farm and ensure that it stays safe.”

To donate, go to http://www.gofundme.com/s43jafkw