Deddington scrumper ruins village tradition

James Reeve, parish councillor and the now empty apple tree NNL-171031-095036001

An early morning scrumper selfishly removed every single apple from a village tree and with it ends a children’s village pantomime tradition.

While it may not be the crime of the century the removal of each and every apple from a tree in the grounds of Deddington Castle has angered residents as it represents the antipathy of village life.

A similar sized apple tree with abundant fruit NNL-171031-164440001

The theft took place in the dawn light hours of Sunday, October 1. Two dog walkers reported seeing a man leaving the castle grounds at around 7am. The man was seen with two, large IKEA bags full to the brim and clearly heavy.

It wasn’t until a little later that residents began to notice the sudden dearth of apples from the only fruit bearing tree on the castle grounds and put two and two together.

James Reeve, parish councillor and chairman of The Friends of the Castle Grounds, said: “It happened on the first of October but you have to wait a while for the information to work its way back to you.

“I don’t know how he did it, he wouldn’t have the time using one of those pickers but it looks knocked about. Up to so high people pick them but the top of the tree was festooned with apples but he’s taken the lot.”

The tree, showing slight signs of damage, is a favourite among dog walkers with one walker describing how it was her morning routine to pick an apple as she and her pooch started the day and how, after the apples theft, she was so upset about it she steered clear of the grounds for two days.

While it is not illegal to take fruit from trees on public ground it is illegal to profit from them and villagers suspect that the amount of apples taken suggests some kind of commercial use was the motivation.

James said: “We don’t know if they have been taken to sell or make into cider but it’s not cricket is it.”

Pantomime season is now upon us and one village tradition has now been scuppered by the apple thief.

James said: “Rehearsals have started for the panto so we take a couple of carrier bags up to give to the kids but that’s all gone.”

If you know who took the apples or have information, contact Deddington Parish Council.

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