IN the latest of a spate of plant thefts in Radcliffe, a community group's three large cordylines have been stolen.

Overnight, three large planters were dug up and taken from outside Coronation Road Community Centre and Library, opposite the row of shops, in Coronation Road.

The theft follows a string of plant disappearances in the Bury and Radcliffe areas.

In this latest incident, the evergreen cordyline australis 'Red Star', recognisable by their palm-like appearance, had only been potted three days before by volunteers from Corrie Gardeners in anticipation of The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) It's Your Neighbourhood awards.

Corrie Gardeners, who are entering the competition this year, work to improve community life for tenants and residents in Coronation Gardens and Coronation Road.

Group lead Tina Harrison said: "It is disheartening when groups are trying hard to improve the area they live in.

"We raise funds ourselves through community events and raffles so these plants were paid for by the tenants and residents.

"They cost £10 or £15 each. This is a lot of money for a small community group.

"We have received lots of positive comments about how nice the area looks. It just upsets you that some people can admire things and others destroy them."

The plants were stolen overnight on Saturday, and their absence was discovered by a dog walker at 6am on Sunday. Several smaller beddings plants were also taken from pots.

Corrie Gardeners have not reported the thefts to the police because they did not want to waste officers' time.

However, they are collating CCTV from the area and will look to report the incident if they gather enough evidence.

It is not known whether the incident is linked to recent reports of plant thefts in the Pimhole area of Bury, The Tottington Centre and Silletts Funeral Service in Radcliffe.

Cllr Paul Cropper said: I am very sad and angry that this has happened. Hopefully a local press story will help catch whoever is responsible."

Any residents who would like to donate to Corrie Gardeners to help cover the cost of the stolen plants, or who would like to volunteer with the group, should email or call Tina on 07963 605 283.