MINDLESS vandals are targeting Truro's allotments under the cover of darkness.
Gardeners have repeatedly found their carefully cultivated seedlings trampled into the ground, bean poles broken, compost bins thrown around and fences torn down.
The late-night weekend rampages seem to be worsening, with owners reporting more incidents this year than before.
And allotment enthusiasts fear if the vandalism continues disheartened owners might abandon their city centre plots.
Truro City Council's parks manager, Richard Budge, said: "They've gone on a rampage and smashed up all sorts of stuff. It's just mindless vandalism and is very disheartening. To do that amount of damage they must have been there for quite a while and been quite a few of them as well.
"We get the odd attacks on all sorts, where people come and pinch vegetables and try and break into sheds."
But the "odd attacks" have escalated into a regular occurrence, with Godfrey Mortimore recalling five in recent months.
The 72-year-old who has one of the 18 allotments at Redannick said: "We do get a little bit every year, but this year it's been especially bad. In just ten minutes they can do a lot of damage.
"They've even taken the scarecrow – steel pole and all. It's been a real disappointment for the allotment holders who put in a lot of their time.
"But we'll never catch the perpetrators because you just can't keep your eye on the allotments 24-7.
"Hopefully the vandals will go away eventually, but at the moment it seems to be getting worse.
"If it continues people might pack up and leave, which will be a real shame."
Mr Mortimore believed the culprits were teenagers with a "belly full of beer" who "get up to their larks" after midnight.
"I just can't understand what's going on in their little brain box," he added.
"They're just thinking, 'destroy'."
He said despite police officers regularly patrolling the area, he did not believe the culprits would be caught.
PCSO Tom Care said although damage often went unreported, recent attacks had been far worse than a child trampling on plants to retrieve a lost football.
"This time someone's gone around destroying the whole allotment," he said. "It's not thousands of pounds of damage but people have spent hours of their time up there and it's really annoying."
Anyone with information about the attacks should contact Truro police on 101, reference number GT/12/961.