School garden damaged

Root vegetables in a Southland community garden have been ripped from the ground and left to rot in an act of ''mindless hooliganism''.

Constable Sander Zuiderduin, of Mataura, said someone had damaged the Mataura School community gardens and it was likely to be older children rather than pupils.

Vegetables had been ripped from the ground, thrown around the garden and left there - not even taken home, he said.

The Mataura School was a hotspot during the holidays because the fence was not locked and people could go and play at the park, he said.

Garden volunteer John Hape said it was annoying because it made a real mess and they had to replace all of the plants that had been damaged.

''They weren't even ready to pick.

''We've replaced the onions and the beetroots,'' he said.

The school pupils planted the vegetables themselves and it was unlikely that they would damage the crop, he said.

Garden volunteer Doug King said the garden had been damaged about three times since school broke-up about two weeks ago and it was an ongoing problem.

''It's demoralising that you come here and see a sight like that.

''We're only doing this to try and teach the kids a bit of responsibility,'' he said.

Police are asking for anyone with more information to contact crimestoppers.

The Southland Times