Thieves turning Japanese

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BRAZEN green-fingered thieves pinched a valuable plant from a St Helens couple’s garden.

Chris and Carol Hart, of Broad Oak Road, Parr, were stunned last week to find that a Japanese Maple plant had been ripped out of their garden while they were on holiday.

No other plants had been touched, but a telltale adult footprint was left next to the border where the plant used to be.

Chris Hart, 56, said: “We only went away for four days so we were shocked to find that our £80 Japanese Maple plant was missing from the garden when we got back last Thursday (July 7). All that was left was a hole in the ground.

“We believe the plant was specifically targeted because it was quite expensive. But the way they have taken it doesn’t look very professional. They clearly knew what they were looking for though.

“There’s a adult footprint right next to the plant too.”

The slow-growing Japanese Maple was growing in a border at the side of the Harts’ property when they went away for a short break.

It has purple leaves shaped like fig leaves and is about four feet tall.

Mr Hart added: “My wife takes a lot of pride in the garden and even grows her own veg. She’s not happy at all about this.

“Even if we got the plant back now it would probably be dead because it has been dug up at the wrong time of year.

“I’ve heard of things like this in the past but you never think it will happen to you, do you?”