Thieves target UK ‘greenest tenant’ Tom Gleed’s Poplar community garden for 5th time
- Credit: Poplar Harca
Thieves have targeted a community garden for the fifth time in London’s East End which is tended every day by pensioner Tom Gleed, who won “Britain’s greenest tenant” title last year.
Now the one-time amateur London youth boxing champ can’t even repair the smashed door to the chicken shed at Poplar’s Brownfields housing estate because the callous raiders took off with his tools.
“I am totally devastated and can’t believe it’s happened again,” he told the East London Advertiser today.
“I don’t know how much more I can take—seeing this was devastating.”
The 69-year-old tends the garden 365 days a year, even through winter, where he also keeps rescued chickens.
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Yestertday’s raid was the fifth break-in since Tom began working on the garden in 2010.
Tom, who was London Boys’ Club Federation’s middleweight champ when he was 16 and fought bouts at the Royal Albert Hall, said after the last raid in March: “I would like to get my hands on these scumbags. It was like a bomb has gone off.”
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He was able to repair the damage last time—but now all his electrical tools have been snatched.
Tom is planning a petition with neighbours to ask Poplar Harca Housing, which runs the estate, for security fencing and better lighting. The housing organisation’s Neighbourhood director promised to look into increase security around the garden after the last break-in.
Tom was presented with his “Greenest Tenant in Britain” title in October by explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, in the Chartered Institute of Housing awards, for helping to transform wasteland near the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach into a thriving, sustainable “people’s garden” and looking after it in all weathers.
He was a welder at Millwall’s Graving Dock before retiring, whose contract work included refitting the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s original Sir Galahad support ship which later sank in the 1981 Falklands conflict when it was hit by an Argentine Exocet missile.
Now Tom takes on a different battle—against vandals wrecking his beloved garden while also trying to keep the Brownfields Estate green.