Villagers call in security guards to protect contest blooms

VILLAGERS whose Britain in Bloom hopes were wilted by a vandal attack are to get a private security firm to guard their flower beds until the judging.

The move follows a strange incident in May in which floral displays were doused with a banned weedkiller at Cayton, near Scarborough, convincing the Cayton in Bloom Group that someone was out to spoil their chances in the contest.

Now, uniformed officers in marked vehicles from a private security firm have been hired alongside plain clothed officers to protect displays for Britain in Bloom judging on August 11.

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The security officers provided by firm Instore Security will cover the whole village throughout the summer, carrying out patrols every day.

The cost has been covered by sponsors, including Scarborough in Bloom which pledged 250 towards the bill.

Scarborough in Bloom chairman Councillor David Jeffels said: "The Scarborough in Bloom group is delighted to help the Cayton in Bloom group which has suffered so much as the result of the devastating damage which was caused by the vandals."

Cayton in Bloom chairman Les Hutchinson said: "This is a very serious situation and we had no choice but to hire guards. We have to do all we can.

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"The judges are aware of the situation and we are still optimistic for a good result in the competition."

Instore Security director David Williams said: "Although our officers are on the lookout, we usually find that just their presence is enough to deter vandals.

"Often petty crime in the area diminishes too, meaning this will benefit the whole community. Although we usually look after transport stores and depots we do get asked to do this sort of thing as well."