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Sheerness man David Bancroft baffled by theft of giant cactus as raiders target him twice for prized collection

08 January 2014
by Lewis Dyson

Sheerness homeowner David Bancroft has suffered a sharp rise in crime - after burglars raided him twice for his cactus collection.

The 62-year-old spent years building up the prized specimens, with his children and grandchildren buying him the prickly plants as presents.

He was stunned when thieves broke into the summer house in his garden in the middle of the night and made off with 50 of his cacti.

Sheerness man David Bancroft is astounded thieves twice stole cacti from his greenhouse

Sheerness man David Bancroft was astounded after thieves twice stole cacti from his greenhouse

And he was doubly shocked when they returned a month later and made off with his biggest cactus - which stands at 8ft.

Mr Bancroft, of Wheatsheaf Gardens, said: "I think when they got in the first time they were just looking to see if there was anything of value.

"Basically there isn't and they probably just took the cacti on the off-chance.

"We didn't even bother notifying the police, I just found it trivial, why bother anybody?

"I have never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life. I would sooner have just given it to them..." - David Bancroft

"But then they came back and made a serious effort to get the big one. I couldn't believe it, especially the second time. I thought, 'don't take the mickey'.

"To be fair, I really don't understand it at all. I have never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life. I would sooner have just given it to them.

"We were thinking to ourselves, have we upset anybody? We could start again but I'm not going through that again."

The first raid happened in November and the prick pockets returned just before Christmas when Mr Bancroft found they had had broken through the same roof panelling.

He discovered a trail of spines leading from a field by his house to a nearby canal and believes the thieves will not have got away without being pricked.

He added: "My son and I were pulling the spikes out of ourselves for days when we moved the large cactus into the greenhouse."

The big cactus was given to Mr Bancroft and his 56-year-old wife Bridget, a care worker at Blackburn Lodge, four years ago by a friend whose grandfather had owned it before he died.

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