THIEVES stole expensive tools and equipment worth €1,000 from a community garden before destroying much of the area.
Tools, ladders and a lawnmower were robbed from Balgaddy Community Garden in Lucan, Co Dublin.
Thieves broke into the garden shed and "wrecked the place", taking every expensive item owned or loaned to the volunteer group, said one resident.
For more than five years residents have been coming to Balgaddy Community Garden to plant flowers and socialise.
The crime took place over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
The 90x120ft garden was destroyed by the culprits and as a result, it had to be closed for a time last week.
Residents said the break-in was a "setback" for the garden, which was coming into its prime time for visitors.
"It's the only real community facility in the area - it's the heart of the community," said Lorraine Hennessy of the Balgaddy Working Together group.
"It is a setback for us as we can't do much without the tools, and especially the lawnmower, as the grass needs to be cut every week.
"They wrecked the shed and pulled everything apart, it's just a nightmare. But our spirit will continue," she said.
The front door of the garden was knocked down by the robbers who made off with shears, branch snappers, an expensive drill, two ladders, hammers, the lawnmower and a box of screwdrivers.
However, since the incident took place, a strimmer has already been donated to the garden.
The garden features a children's play area that includes a pirate ship, a teen's garden and an adult garden area used by various local groups.
Groups such as Lucan Tidy Towns and Balgaddy Working Together operate the area, which sits on land owned by South Dublin County Council.
Gardai hope nearby CCTV footage will help them with their investigation.