'Swinger grass' is the new target of garden thieves

2 months ago 13

'Swinger grass' is the new target of garden thieves as its popularity surges and prices for stolen bunches rocket to £150 online

Police are investigating a string of exotic pampas grass thefts across Sussex Reports that stolen bunches of feathery plumes can fetch up to £150 onlineHomeowner in Horsham, West Sussex, described thieves armed with secateurs

By Fiona Jackson For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 22:01 GMT, 19 December 2020 | Updated: 22:17 GMT, 19 December 2020

An exotic plant that fell out of favour when it was linked to suburban wife-swapping is now so popular that it has become the latest target for garden thieves.

Police are investigating a string of pampas grass thefts across Sussex amid reports that stolen bunches of the white feathery plumes can fetch up to £150 online.

The Mail on Sunday reported earlier this year how the plant was making a comeback thanks to its new-found popularity as a must-have home accessory among social-media influencers.

Sales had slumped down the years after rumours spread that homeowners who planted pampas grass in their front gardens were signalling an interest in swinging.

The claims were later dismissed as a silly urban myth but still deterred many gardeners.

Sales of the plant had slumped down the years after rumours spread that homeowners who planted pampas grass (pictured) in their front gardens were signalling an interest in swinging

One homeowner in Horsham, West Sussex, described how thieves armed with secateurs broke down her garden fence one night last month to strip every stem of her massive plant.

‘If they’d knocked on my door, I would’ve handed them a torch for it,’ she joked. ‘I’m a child of the 1970s so I’m aware of the connotations, but it was here when I moved in seven years ago and I almost put it in the bin then.’

Another Horsham resident was targeted a few days later – one of three to report thefts in recent months. ‘I had no idea of its value and no idea it had come back into fashion,’ she said. ‘I usually cut it back most years and throw it away.’

Police are investigating a string of pampas grass thefts across Sussex amid reports that stolen bunches of the white feathery plumes can fetch up to £150 online. Pictured: One of the cut grasses 

In Greater Manchester, a pampas plant tended by the Altrincham In Bloom community group also attracted green-fingered thieves. A member of the gardening team wrote on social media: ‘I can’t quite believe it. Someone has stolen all of the lovely tall flower stems off our pampas grass on Stockport Road.’ 

The exotic plant features in the designs of several upmarket home decorators. Celebrities such as Dani Dyer and Stacey Solomon have also displayed tasteful arrangements of dyed stems in vases on their social media sites.

Sahar Kasiri, co-founder and creative director of Elari Events, uses pampas grass in many of her designs, including a 9ft Christmas tree that gained 30,000 likes on Instagram.

She said a single stem of pampas grass can cost £25, adding: ‘We were saying recently that we’d seen lots of pampas bushes on roundabouts that have all been chopped down. Now we think it must be people pinching them because it’s really expensive.’

Read Entire Article