Council digs up flowers - to help catch drug dealers

Rockstone Lane residents Mary Schofield, Phil Zelkin, Max Greenwood and Velecia Zelkin who were dismayed to find their community garden completely cut back by the council.

Rockstone Lane residents Mary Schofield, Phil Zelkin, Max Greenwood and Velecia Zelkin who were dismayed to find their community garden completely cut back by the council.

First published in Crime Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THEY provided a rare splash of colour in the heart of the city.

Residents of a Southampton street worked hard to create a horticultural oasis by planting and tending communal flowerbeds that brightened up their neighbourhood.

But while the roses, geraniums and laveteria were welcomed by neighbours and passers-by, they became the innocent victims of a police crackdown on crime.

Officers asked council bosses to cut back bushes that they claimed gave cover to drug dealers using the area.

But council workers not only removed shrubs, they ripped up flowerbeds that had been adopted by Rockstone Lane residents who bought plants and spent hours maintaining them.

Furious residents described the scene of destruction as “a mindless act of hooliganism”.

Now a council chief has admitted the blunder, apologised and pledged to return the border to its previous condition.

Phil Zelkin, who lives in Rockstone Lane, was one of many angered by the council’s actions.

He said: “This mindless act of hooliganism and destruction is the most appalling act by our local council and they must be held to account.

“There can be no excuse with this incident, as the gardens in central Southampton are kept to a very good standard, so why should Rockstone Lane be treated any different?”

Aimee Greenwood, landlady of the nearby Rockstone pub, added: “It complemented the lane and made the area look lovely.

“It was obvious that it was being tended so we don’t understand why they did it.”

Southampton’s housing and leisure boss, Cllr Warwick Payne, said: “The parks team acted with good intentions in trying to assist the police in reducing crime in the neighbourhood, but clearly should have consulted with local residents before carrying out these actions and we are sorry they didn’t.

“Clearly we will put this right so that local residents have no cost and no inconvenience, but we will seek their views and those of the police to agree a replanting scheme that meets all needs.

“We very much hope that local residents will continue their active and valued engagement in the care and maintenance of their local green space.”

A Hampshire Police spokesman said: “We asked the council to cut back some the shrubbery at a site meeting as this would help to improve surveillance to try and stop the drug-related criminal activities going on in the area which local residents are keen for us to deal with.

“With the shrubbery cut back it makes it far easier to keep an eye on and, in turn, as it makes the area more exposed, it will hopefully help put people off from drug dealing there because they can be more easily seen.”

Comments (25)

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1:00pm Fri 11 Jan 13

10 Minute Man says...

Stopping drugs, one flowerbed at a time...
Stopping drugs, one flowerbed at a time... 10 Minute Man
  • Score: 0

1:28pm Fri 11 Jan 13

simaster says...

reducing the supply of weed on the streets ;o)
reducing the supply of weed on the streets ;o) simaster
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Fri 11 Jan 13

sass says...

Shrubbery that hides drug dealers from Police would also hide Police from drug dealers. Use it to turn the tables!
Shrubbery that hides drug dealers from Police would also hide Police from drug dealers. Use it to turn the tables! sass
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Outside of the Box says...

Hashish hashish, drugs to drugs, if the grass doesn't get you,,,, the flowerbeds must.
Hashish hashish, drugs to drugs, if the grass doesn't get you,,,, the flowerbeds must. Outside of the Box
  • Score: 0

1:41pm Fri 11 Jan 13

hulla baloo says...

Is digging up a few bushes and plants the best method they have for crime prevention/detection
?
Is digging up a few bushes and plants the best method they have for crime prevention/detection ? hulla baloo
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Paramjit Bahia says...

Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne.

If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?
Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne. If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters? Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: 0

2:57pm Fri 11 Jan 13

mickey01 says...

how tall are these drug dealers anyway?
how tall are these drug dealers anyway? mickey01
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Fri 11 Jan 13

mickey01 says...

sass wrote:
Shrubbery that hides drug dealers from Police would also hide Police from drug dealers. Use it to turn the tables!
maybe it was the special branch
[quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: Shrubbery that hides drug dealers from Police would also hide Police from drug dealers. Use it to turn the tables![/p][/quote]maybe it was the special branch mickey01
  • Score: 0

3:05pm Fri 11 Jan 13

oldboy67 says...

a mistake by the council which they have amitted and will put right,i should not like to met the locals from that area the venom that was put into there report about it makes you think about the way the germanys acted in the 2nd world war, god help anyone who walks on there pavements without first cleaning there shoes off. over the top me thinks so
a mistake by the council which they have amitted and will put right,i should not like to met the locals from that area the venom that was put into there report about it makes you think about the way the germanys acted in the 2nd world war, god help anyone who walks on there pavements without first cleaning there shoes off. over the top me thinks so oldboy67
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Outside of the Box says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne.

If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?
What planet are you on?

WTF does this have to do with NuLabour you really need to get over yourself,,,you're very sad man
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne. If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?[/p][/quote]What planet are you on? WTF does this have to do with NuLabour you really need to get over yourself,,,you're very sad man Outside of the Box
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Stillness says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne.

If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?
How do you work out that it's Payne's fault? Do you expect him to supervise every activity personally or could you just not control your urge to try and make something of nothing?

Did Mr Zelkin really say “This mindless act of hooliganism and destruction is the most appalling act by our local council and they must be held to account."? Perhaps he should get a life.
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne. If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?[/p][/quote]How do you work out that it's Payne's fault? Do you expect him to supervise every activity personally or could you just not control your urge to try and make something of nothing? Did Mr Zelkin really say “This mindless act of hooliganism and destruction is the most appalling act by our local council and they must be held to account."? Perhaps he should get a life. Stillness
  • Score: 0

3:18pm Fri 11 Jan 13

S!monOn says...

Stillness wrote:
Paramjit Bahia wrote:
Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne.

If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?
How do you work out that it's Payne's fault? Do you expect him to supervise every activity personally or could you just not control your urge to try and make something of nothing?

Did Mr Zelkin really say “This mindless act of hooliganism and destruction is the most appalling act by our local council and they must be held to account."? Perhaps he should get a life.
Mindless act is worrying about a patch of greenery than the drug dealers frequenting their area.... talk about getting your priorities right!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Stillness[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne. If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?[/p][/quote]How do you work out that it's Payne's fault? Do you expect him to supervise every activity personally or could you just not control your urge to try and make something of nothing? Did Mr Zelkin really say “This mindless act of hooliganism and destruction is the most appalling act by our local council and they must be held to account."? Perhaps he should get a life.[/p][/quote]Mindless act is worrying about a patch of greenery than the drug dealers frequenting their area.... talk about getting your priorities right!!!! S!monOn
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Bevois Valley Resident says...

S!monOn wrote:
Stillness wrote:
Paramjit Bahia wrote:
Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne.

If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?
How do you work out that it's Payne's fault? Do you expect him to supervise every activity personally or could you just not control your urge to try and make something of nothing?

Did Mr Zelkin really say “This mindless act of hooliganism and destruction is the most appalling act by our local council and they must be held to account."? Perhaps he should get a life.
Mindless act is worrying about a patch of greenery than the drug dealers frequenting their area.... talk about getting your priorities right!!!!
Is it not possible to be bothered about both?
Of course residents are concerned about drug dealing in the area, but it's hard to see how digging up all the plants is going to help combat that.
What's so wrong with people wanting to live in an attractive area and instead of waiting for other people to sort it out, doing it themselves?
The beds did make the area look much more attractive and I hope the council are true to their word and do replant them.
[quote][p][bold]S!monOn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Stillness[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne. If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?[/p][/quote]How do you work out that it's Payne's fault? Do you expect him to supervise every activity personally or could you just not control your urge to try and make something of nothing? Did Mr Zelkin really say “This mindless act of hooliganism and destruction is the most appalling act by our local council and they must be held to account."? Perhaps he should get a life.[/p][/quote]Mindless act is worrying about a patch of greenery than the drug dealers frequenting their area.... talk about getting your priorities right!!!![/p][/quote]Is it not possible to be bothered about both? Of course residents are concerned about drug dealing in the area, but it's hard to see how digging up all the plants is going to help combat that. What's so wrong with people wanting to live in an attractive area and instead of waiting for other people to sort it out, doing it themselves? The beds did make the area look much more attractive and I hope the council are true to their word and do replant them. Bevois Valley Resident
  • Score: 0

3:31pm Fri 11 Jan 13

bigfella777 says...

Surely the buck should stop with the workers who dug them up. If your instruction for the day was to go and clear bushes and undergrowth from an area and then on arrival you found well tended flowerbeds, wouldnt you telephone your supervisor and say "have you got this right,I think you should come and have a look before we go ahead".
This is another example of council staff working to rule,I bet they knew **** well it would cause trouble and that's why they did it, to aggravate council management.
No wonder people have no sympathy for them when they do things like this.
Surely the buck should stop with the workers who dug them up. If your instruction for the day was to go and clear bushes and undergrowth from an area and then on arrival you found well tended flowerbeds, wouldnt you telephone your supervisor and say "have you got this right,I think you should come and have a look before we go ahead". This is another example of council staff working to rule,I bet they knew **** well it would cause trouble and that's why they did it, to aggravate council management. No wonder people have no sympathy for them when they do things like this. bigfella777
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Tone says...

Looks like that area has gone to pot, they've made a right hash of it!
Looks like that area has gone to pot, they've made a right hash of it! Tone
  • Score: 0

3:59pm Fri 11 Jan 13

wossit says...

Whats next cut down the common to stop dogging !!
Whats next cut down the common to stop dogging !! wossit
  • Score: 0

4:36pm Fri 11 Jan 13

sotonbusdriver says...

Personally I think the Council were out on a limb,,,,, What ever happens it has muddy'd the waters....
let's get greenpeace and the tree huggers to sit in, in protest
Personally I think the Council were out on a limb,,,,, What ever happens it has muddy'd the waters.... let's get greenpeace and the tree huggers to sit in, in protest sotonbusdriver
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Bevois Valley Resident says...

oldboy67 wrote:
a mistake by the council which they have amitted and will put right,i should not like to met the locals from that area the venom that was put into there report about it makes you think about the way the germanys acted in the 2nd world war, god help anyone who walks on there pavements without first cleaning there shoes off. over the top me thinks so
Are you really comparing complaining about some flowerbeds being destroyed to the Holocaust or is it just your complete lack of command of the English language that makes it read that way?
[quote][p][bold]oldboy67[/bold] wrote: a mistake by the council which they have amitted and will put right,i should not like to met the locals from that area the venom that was put into there report about it makes you think about the way the germanys acted in the 2nd world war, god help anyone who walks on there pavements without first cleaning there shoes off. over the top me thinks so[/p][/quote]Are you really comparing complaining about some flowerbeds being destroyed to the Holocaust or is it just your complete lack of command of the English language that makes it read that way? Bevois Valley Resident
  • Score: 0

6:02pm Fri 11 Jan 13

On the inside says...

A genuine mistake was made. A senior Cllr has apologised and said it will be put right. What more do they want.

When they replant roses in Rockstone place they should ensure there are none with **** as there is clearly a current surplus.
A genuine mistake was made. A senior Cllr has apologised and said it will be put right. What more do they want. When they replant roses in Rockstone place they should ensure there are none with **** as there is clearly a current surplus. On the inside
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Fri 11 Jan 13

thinklikealocal says...

Is it April 1st?
Is it April 1st? thinklikealocal
  • Score: 0

10:06pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Ayrton1 says...

I live in southcliff road and I walk passed this spot everyday and its always full of drunks teenagers and druggies so fair play to the police and council and I for one think it looks better now anyway!i wish people would see the bigger picture and understand why they did this!but I agree it should be replaced with smaller more appealing shrubbery!
I live in southcliff road and I walk passed this spot everyday and its always full of drunks teenagers and druggies so fair play to the police and council and I for one think it looks better now anyway!i wish people would see the bigger picture and understand why they did this!but I agree it should be replaced with smaller more appealing shrubbery! Ayrton1
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Stillness says...

Ayrton1 wrote:
I live in southcliff road and I walk passed this spot everyday and its always full of drunks teenagers and druggies so fair play to the police and council and I for one think it looks better now anyway!i wish people would see the bigger picture and understand why they did this!but I agree it should be replaced with smaller more appealing shrubbery!
Nice to see that you class our future leaders in the same league as drunks and druggies lol.
[quote][p][bold]Ayrton1[/bold] wrote: I live in southcliff road and I walk passed this spot everyday and its always full of drunks teenagers and druggies so fair play to the police and council and I for one think it looks better now anyway!i wish people would see the bigger picture and understand why they did this!but I agree it should be replaced with smaller more appealing shrubbery![/p][/quote]Nice to see that you class our future leaders in the same league as drunks and druggies lol. Stillness
  • Score: 0

2:26am Sat 12 Jan 13

Blaze69 says...

Council showing a lack of common sensi.
Council showing a lack of common sensi. Blaze69
  • Score: 0

9:50am Sat 12 Jan 13

Stillness says...

Blaze69 wrote:
Council showing a lack of common sensi.
Don't be dopey. They probably got it wrong because they had just had a whiff of their spliff.
[quote][p][bold]Blaze69[/bold] wrote: Council showing a lack of common sensi.[/p][/quote]Don't be dopey. They probably got it wrong because they had just had a whiff of their spliff. Stillness
  • Score: 0

1:36pm Sat 12 Jan 13

elvisimo says...

Outside of the Box wrote:
Paramjit Bahia wrote:
Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne.

If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?
What planet are you on?

WTF does this have to do with NuLabour you really need to get over yourself,,,you're very sad man
He is quite funny though. I though it was a parody account.
[quote][p][bold]Outside of the Box[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: Buck stops with man in charge at the Council, under whose administration this mindless vandalism took place i.e. Cllr. Warwick Payne. He and his colleagues keep on pleading shortage of money. So cost of replanting should not come from public funds but should be paid by Cllr. Payne. If this kind of idiotic event had occurred when Party in opposition was in power all three NuLabour Councillors for Bevios Ward (which includes current Deputy Leader and the Mayor) would have accused Smith's administration with all kind of stuff. Why are they now conveniently quite? Is it because most of the residents in this lane are not Labour voters?[/p][/quote]What planet are you on? WTF does this have to do with NuLabour you really need to get over yourself,,,you're very sad man[/p][/quote]He is quite funny though. I though it was a parody account. elvisimo
  • Score: 0

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