Saturday, May 10, 2008

More than 350 people descended on mass to the Millenium Square garden in Leeds

More than 300 people ran riot and destroyed an award-winning garden after they responded to a campaign for a mass water fight on social networking website Facebook.

With the country basking in its recent spell of fine weather, hundreds descended on the Millenium Square garden in Leeds following a listing on the popular website.

Leeds City Council claim around 350 people armed with water pistols and buckets trashed the garden, which scooped a bronze medal at the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show and is a symbol of the city's enduring partnership with Nelson Mandela and his hometown of Durban.

gardenCouncil chiefs claim years of hard work on the square's stunning centrepiece, establishing the garden's exotic greenery, were ruined in the Bank Holiday water fight.

Videos and pictures of people destroying the garden have been posted on the Facebook site and footage has also featured on YouTube. Organisers even boast of the "success" of their "event", the council said.

Plants were trampled, turf ripped up, water features emptied and filled with foam and the mechanism for the fountains is thought to have been damaged during the rampage.

gardenCouncil CCTV footage will now be handed over to the police.

Councillor John Procter, executive member for Leisure, said: "Our parks staff were distraught when they discovered the wreckage.

"Frankly I'm appalled at the total disregard for people's ongoing enjoyment of this beautiful city centre oasis.

garden"To destroy years of careful cultivation for a couple of hours of so-called "fun" is unforgivable.

"We will be pulling out all the stops to make sure everything is put right.

"It will stretch parks staff to the limit when they are already working hard on this year's Chelsea garden and the bedding and container planting for the city's summer displays."

gardenStaff have been busy assessing the damage and spent much of yesterday morning jet-washing masses of mud away from the area.


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