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Digging up Trouble

Over 100 holes left by metal detecting at Marlborough’s premier park

5:18 pm on 31 January 2023

Maia Hart, Local Democracy Reporter

Someone with a metal detector is thought to be searching for hidden gems at Marlborough's Pollard Park at night. File image. Photo: Stuff/Supplied

A person using a metal detector at Marlborough's premier park is believed to be responsible for leaving more than 100 holes.

The person or people responsible for the holes are thought to have been coming in to the park at night. Metal detecting is not allowed on Marlborough's parks and reserves.

Marlborough District Council parks and open spaces manager Jane Tito said they believed the metal detectorist did not have much experience in the hobby.

"Usually metal detectors can dig a piece of earth and practically put it back, so you wouldn't know that anything had been done," Tito said.

"It's one of Marlborough's premier parks, it's not a football field or anything like that."

She said it was "bad enough" that the holes were unsightly, but they also created a health and safety issue.

Tito said in the past they had someone contact the council to ask if they could metal detect at Marlborough's parks which had prompted the council to look into how other councils managed it.

Over 100 holes have been left at the park that need repairing and a regrass. Photo: Stuff/Supplied

"I think we could only find one council that allowed you to metal detect and in order for that there was a permit and an application that had to be made," Tito said.

"It was quite stringent. In the end it probably wasn't even worth doing."

She hoped the park and reserves team could track down the person or people who had been creating the damage, but in the meantime holes would be repaired, and the grass repaired by the gardens team.

Meanwhile, Tito said an issue with excessive stolen roses at Pollard Park which cropped up last year had seemed to resolve itself.

Between 800 and 1000 rose heads - about half the roses in Pollard Park - were stolen in January last year.

Speculation at the time was that they had been taken for events, such as weddings, because it was more than just a bunch for a vase on a dining room table.

"We haven't had the same level of taking of the roses like we did last year. Maybe people got wind of it and started to listen so that's been really good," Tito said.

However, "quite a few" roses had to be replanted to make up for the loss.

The theft had introduced diseases, thought to be caused by cutting roses with dirty, or diseased pruners, which was damaging to the plants.

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