HEARTLESS thieves have stolen plants from Malvern Priory, ruining the hard work of the church's volunteers.

After almost three years of work planting up the garden by volunteers, thieves struck on Friday night, digging up the plants and stealing them.

In all, 14 plants have been stolen, and Ollie Marks, who headed up the team of volunteers, said it was "devastating"

He said: "Each empty hole now has a small piece of paving slab in it with a label saying Plant Stolen. It looks like a mini graveyard.

"I’ve also put a notice on the fence saying what has happened hoping that if people are aware of the problem, they might be vigilant about anything odd they see going on."

Priory manager Anne Rich said anyone with information about the theft, which has been reported to the police, should contact her at the Priory office.

She said: "Only the finishing touches were left, but on Friday evening, plants were dug up and stolen.

"In some cases the holes were filled in, in others the holes were left."