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Police seek Lincoln Cathedral rose thief

28 April 2023

LINCOLN CATHEDRAL

The empty rose bed at Lincoln Cathedral

The empty rose bed at Lincoln Cathedral

POLICE are on the scent of a thief who dug up 35 rose bushes planted at Lincoln Cathedral in memory of the late Duke of Edinburgh.

The bushes disappeared from the church’s east green overnight, some time between Sunday evening, 16 April, and Monday morning, 17 April. Last week, Lincolnshire Police said that a woman carrying a garden fork had been seen near the garden, and appealed for her to get in touch. They urged anyone with CCTV or dashcam footage to contact them.

The bushes, which have deep pink double flowers flecked with white, are named after the Duke, and were developed after his death on 9 April 2021.

A spokeswoman for the cathedral, Michelle Andrews, said: “It is the most unlikely theft: it’s a bit of a mystery. When we found out, it was a jaw-dropping moment. We don’t think it was vandalism. They had not been ripped out and soil left everywhere. The bed had even been forked over afterwards. The lawn nearby is infested with chaffer bugs; so perhaps they thought they were doing the roses a favour and rescuing them — or maybe it was an anti-monarchist gesture — but really we have no idea why anyone might have done it.

“We put the details out in the hope someone might have seen something — or suddenly had an offer of 35 rose bushes in the pub last night. We certainly had a little look at Facebook Marketplace.”

In a Twitter post last week, the cathedral described the theft as a “blooming disappointment”. The bushes were planted last September, as part of a project to smarten up the east green. “It’s been looking really bad and drab because of the chafer grub damage,” Ms Andrews said.

“The roses, and some wild flowers, were a way to bring this little area back to life again. A lot of time and effort had gone into putting them in and caring for them. It’s just upsetting really for everybody. They cost £700, which, in the context of the cathedral finances, is not huge. But in these straitened times it is an extra cost to replace them. We are looking at what we can do now, but we certainly want to use the space as something dedicated to the Duke.”

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