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Salad thief caught 'making off with disabled pensioner's tomatoes'

A pensioner has made a plea for a woman to please stop pinching his hard-grown tomatoes.

Charles Nippard, 86, is disabled but still manages to cultivate a vegetable patch that is his pride and joy.

With the help of his daughter, he has been growing potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and strawberries in raised beds in his garden in Poole, Dorset, for years.

This summer, however, he noticed that his crop of tomatoes was sparser than normal.

In addition, around 40 red onions left out on a rack to dry in the sun mysteriously went missing.

Mr Nippard didn’t think too much of it and thought perhaps the hot weather had damaged his crop.

But then, a public-spirited neighbour spotted a middle-aged woman enter the garden and help herself to some of his plants.

They managed to take a photo of the woman leaving, holding broken-off vines laden with green tomatoes in both hands.

The mystery of the missing tomatoes therefore seems solved – with the woman now the prime suspect for the onions too.

Mr Nippard’s daughter Derri-Anne Beck, 52, posted the photograph on social media in the hope it might shame the culprit into stopping.

She received numerous private messages back from people who gave the same name.

And judging by photos of her food posted on Facebook, it would appear the woman has been making a lot of delicious looking salads lately.

Mrs Beck said there is little point in going to the police and is appealing directly to the woman to stop.

She alleged: ‘She has decimated about half of the tomatoes and taken about 40 red onions.


‘My father grows all the seedlings on his windowsills and I help him plant them out in raised beds and maintain them and harvest them. He has been doing it for years.

‘Then about two weeks ago I looked at the tomato plants and thought “there aren’t as many on there as there should be.”

‘But I just put it down to the heat.

‘Then a neighbour came round and explained she had taken a photo on her mobile phone from out of her window of a woman who was stealing our tomatoes.

‘You can clearly see this woman walking off out our garden with each hand full of green tomatoes.

‘We have had quite a few people provide the same name of the person in the photo. It is quite obvious that it is her. I am sure she has been taking them for weeks.

‘On her Facebook page there are several photos of some side salads she has made with main meals and you wonder “are they our tomatoes?”

‘The police won’t do anything. It is just irritating.

‘We spend a lot of time and effort to grow our fruit and veg and people think they can just help themselves.’

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