Village's flower displays sabotaged
Villagers have been left "devastated" after floral displays were sabotaged by a vandal just months before they were due to take part in a national competition.
The village of Cayton, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire, which is renowned for its displays, is a regular in the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom final and is due to take part in the competition in August.
But organisers' hopes of success have been dashed after a banned toxic weedkiller was spread among gardens in what police have described as a "calculating and malicious act".
Les Hutchinson, chairman of the Cayton in Bloom group, said residents first noticed some of their shrubs were dying two weeks ago and discovered a white powder spread among the displays throughout the village.
Tests on the powder revealed it was sodium chlorate, a weedkiller which was banned and withdrawn from shops last September as it was said to be too toxic.
Mr Hutchinson said the damage caused to the gardens would cost a lot of money to put right but the village still intended to take part in the competition.
He said: "It will cost a lot of money, as we have to remove tons of soil, but we are still competing and the competition judges are aware of what has happened. The whole village is devastated by what has happened, we are a very close-knit community."
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "It is very disturbing that someone has gone out of their way to commit such a calculating and malicious act against the people of Cayton. A great deal of time, effort and expense goes into Cayton in Bloom and the organisers are quite rightly angered and upset by what has happened.
"We are appealing for any information that could assist the investigation to identify the culprit. Someone out there knows who is responsible. Please, do the right thing and report them, either direct to the police or anonymously via Crimestoppers."
Cayton is a finalist in the large village category of this year's Britain in Bloom competition. It received a silver gilt award for its entries in 2008 and 2006.