Peterborough's Green Backyard thrilled by community support after thefts

The co-founder of the popular Green Backyard has admitted she was overwhelmed after the community rallied around to replace items stolen last week.

Friday, 21st September 2018, 3:52 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 6:20 am
Mark Brear and Sophie Antonelli with the new drills at the Green Backyard
Mark Brear and Sophie Antonelli with the new drills at the Green Backyard

The popular community growing project on the corner of London Road and Oundle Road was targeted during the weekend before last with another break-in then attempted a few days later.

The thieves made off with three power drills, which are used on a regular basis, and a generator which is used during events, as well as £100 in cash.

The total cost to the community group was around £800.

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The drills, which Green Backyard co-founder Sophie Antonelli had fundraised for by competing in the Great Eastern Run in Peterborough last year, cost £350 but have now been replaced by EML Electrical, which is based in Maxwell Road, Woodston.

The donations have been coming in since the Peterborough Telegraph reported on the break-ins last week.

Sophie said: “We were not sure about putting the story of the theft online because it was not very good news, but the response we have had from it was really unexpected.

“We knew people care but it was quite overwhelming. We’ve just had so many offers of support.

“We’ve had about £125 donated through the website which will help replace the cash stolen.

“We had a local locksmith who came out the next day and replaced all our locks for free, a local business has got in touch to say that they are going to buy replacement drills for us, and the market cobbler gave us a free padlock for the gate and cut all new keys for us at a discount.”

The Green Backyard has also been contacted by an organisation about the possibility of the generator being replaced.

Sophie added: “We would just like to say how grateful we are. It’s taken a really unpleasant situation and turned it around and reminded us how amazing the community can be.”

Mark Brear, director of EML Electrical, said: “When I read Sophie had gone to the effort of running the Great Eastern Run to raise money for the drills, that kind of pulled at the heartstrings.

“I thought it was distasteful someone had the audacity to go and steal the drills.

“We are a reasonably small business, but I think small and big businesses have a duty in the community to support these things.

“From that point of view it was a no-brainer.”

The Green Backyard is continuing to host events, including its International Picnic from noon on Saturday.

Entry is free, and visitors are encouraged to bring a dish to share.

It is also hosting a conker championships on October 21.