PUMPKIN smashing vandals have given community gardeners a fright.

The wreckers stole a giant pumpkin that had been growing in West Swindon – spoiling kids’ Halloween fun.

The giant pumpkin, which had six weeks of growing left before Halloween, was found smashed to a pulp in a nearby field.

Volunteers from Incredible Edible Swindon, a community gardening project, made the discovery ten days ago.

They had staked all their hopes on the pumpkin, after others in the 10-metre-square vegetable bed had withered away

Lisa Mullan, of Incredible Edible, said: “This is the first year we’d planted them in Incredible Edible beds.

“For whatever reason, somebody’s thought it would be a good idea to take it. They’ve trailed the leaves along and had great fun smashing up the pumpkin.

“It was the only pumpkin left, so it wasn’t a great thing to happen. It would have been a fair size pumpkin by October.”

The vegetable bed from which the pumpkin was snatched is one of three in Woollaton Close that have been managed by Incredible Edible volunteers for 18 months.

The quiet cul-de-sac is home to many families, with children occasionally helping out the Incredible Edible gardeners.

The volunteers had hoped to give the vegetable – which was of the Giant Irish Pumpkin variety – to neighbouring children to carve for Halloween.

Lisa said: “It’s really annoying. It’s incredibly irritating. The most frustrating part of this was that there was only one pumpkin left and it was growing beautifully.”

The plots had occasionally seen problems with kids digging out vegetables like onions on their way to school but this was the first time they had experienced more extreme vandalism.

“The food we grow is available for anyone to take and eat at any time – but not to vandalise,” she said.

Incredible Edible have volunteer groups that meet in West Swindon and at the Central Community Centre in the Railway Village.

To find out more, visit: www.edibleswindon.co.uk.