Children upset over theft of Ag Show exhibits

  • Student made crafts on display at the 2018 Ag Show (photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

    Student made crafts on display at the 2018 Ag Show (photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

Organisers of the Agricultural Show are to look at tougher security for future events after several exhibits were stolen this year.

About seven exhibits, including some created by young children, were found to be missing after last week’s three-day family event.

One father, whose son’s plants were taken, described the acts as “reprehensible”.

He said: “This is essentially stealing from children. My child is eight and he is very sad about it because it was something he was working on and he was looking forward to getting it back and continuing to grow.

“We had the discussion about how not all people are nice in the world and it is something we have to deal with when we experience those things.”

Exhibition director Antwan Albuoy, a former president of the Ag Show, said exhibits had been taken in previous years and that the installation of CCTV cameras could be an option.

He said: “I have spoken to two of the people who had exhibits stolen.

“They are upset. One lady’s seven-year-old daughter had her strawberry plant stolen which won Best in Show — the first prize. She said when she told her daughter she was upset.

“It has been happening for years, it is nothing new. We have to figure out a way to ensure that people’s exhibits are not taken and having CCTV will help.

“We do have measures. You have to have your exhibitor’s card to leave with an exhibit.

Mr Albuoy added: “The issue is also that we had asked for volunteers to be in the building to help with the collection process and monitor, but there was a time when we might not have had enough. It would be good to have more volunteers.”

Two red lettuce plants were taken as well as two strawberry plants, a squash plant which was also Best in Show, and two pepper plants.

Mr Albuoy had a message for would-be thieves.

He said: “Stop stealing because some of the feedback I have gotten is that some people are wary of putting in exhibits in case it gets stolen.

“If that happens, we are going to have fewer exhibits in the exhibition, so it affects everyone.

“You are taking away from a young person who put in the time and effort to grow a plant or make an exhibit and in the blink of an eye it is gone. It is very disheartening. “

CCTV cameras could be used to monitor the JJ Outerbridge Building, the Commercial Slat House and the woodworking building.

Assistant director Tanya Jones explained that if the exhibition was to include CCTV cameras, even if during exhibit pick-up times only, a tender would have to be put out to firms to apply.

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