Britain in Bloom award winner heartbroken after vandals strike

Why would anyone attack a floral display?

Britain in Bloom vandalism

Ray Winsley a 79-year-old keen amateur gardener, spent thousands of pounds cultivating his garden in Bishop Sutton. He even won a prize in the 'containers visible from pavement' category in this year's Britain in Bloom competition. However, that was before the vandals stuck.

The Bath Chronicle reported that Ray's flowers have all been killed by weedkiller - along with a stripe of lawn. Ray, a retired builder, has been left wondering why anyone would have done this. He said that it had broken his heart.

He told the Daily Mail he was determined to nurse his flowers back to health and defend his title in 2017.

Bloom disasters

Bizarrely this isn't the only case of flower vandalism to hit competitors in the Britain in Bloom competition. Back in July, the day before judging, vandals struck in Castlecaufield in Country Tyrone, tipping over planters and destroying flowers in gardens. The judging was postponed to enable them to clear up.

In June, members of Studley in Bloom appealed for more flowers, after its floral displays were repeatedly ripped out of beds and thrown around the streets. They needed replacing again, and members of the group had run out.

In May, two men were arrested after attacks on displays in Durham - one paid a fixed penalty of £100 and the other was forced to meet representatives of Durham in Bloom and carry out voluntary work.


The Durham incident provides one clue as to what might lie behind some of the attacks where planters have been tipped over and flowers pulled out. They happened around midnight in the city - so there's every chance the pair had been drinking, and were not necessarily thinking their actions through with any particular clarity.

The fact that Ray's vandals used weedkiller, however, indicates a bit more thought and planning. It's not the first time that weedkiller has been employed to destroy flowers in the Britain in Bloom competition. Cayton in Yorkshire saw displays across the village attacked with weedkiller as they prepared for the competition in 2010. One local at the time suggested: "This is obviously somebody who has something against In Bloom. The police are looking into one or two suspects."

So far nobody has been arrested for the attack on Ray's garden, so it's difficult to know whether it was the result of some sort of horticulture-based rivalry, worthy of investigation by Rosemary and Thyme, or a simple act of mindless vandalism.

The police have called for anyone with any information to come forward.

Ten unfortunate criminal mistakes

Ten unfortunate criminal mistakes