AN Aldershot couple has been left feeling distraught after vandals smashed and stole ornaments adorning their prize-winning garden.

Violet Barraclough, 70, of Campbell Close, whose husband Tom, 71, designed and built the garden, said hours of hard work had been destroyed.

She said: “We have told the police but they haven’t been round, although they gave us a case number. I don’t know what else to do but I want them (vandals) to know I’m not afraid of reporting the fact that this has happened.”

She added: “We think it happened in the early hours of Saturday morning. What happened was I got up in the middle of the night, something woke me up but I don’t know what, and I thought something looked funny. Then I noticed three of the biggest ornaments had gone.

“At about six o’clock the man who delivers the papers knocked on the door and said one of the ornaments was on top of a van parked in Morland Road.”

As a former first place winner in the Rushmoor in Bloom competition, and highly recommended in several different years, the garden has become a local attraction.

Mrs Barraclough said: “Everybody was always saying how nice it was and people used to bring their grand-children to see the different animal ornaments.

“But now my husband has been put off doing it. The ornaments cost quite a lot of money and we’re afraid they might come back.”

Ward councillor Don Cappleman said: “To be truthful, this is one of the problems we have got in the area in general, throughout the borough.

“There is a group who think that any other person’s property is fair game when they decide to do some mindless tricks.

“I believe the only way to stop it is for the parents, council, police and housing providers to get together and start using what can be used to stop this. There are government initiatives and various orders that can be used on people who are nuisances.”