THIEVES have stolen hanging baskets lovingly made by a group of vulnerable young adults hoping to brighten up their community.

They ran off with the planters on the same day they had been placed outside the Belville Community Gardens project.

The team at the gardens have been trying to create a safe green haven in the heart of the street, recently the scene of an alleged attempted murder.

Staff were left stunned by the theft.

Manager Laura Reilly said: "The hanging baskets were made by a group of severely autistic young people who come to work with us.

"We couldn't believe it when they were stolen.

"They hadn't even been up for a day.

"I think the community has been feeling a bit fearful recently with all the police activity.

"It really upsets people when something like this happens.

"We are just trying to brighten up the walkway - we want to brighten things up for people."

But Belville Garden have today offered an olive branch to those responsible for the theft, after immediately replacing the stolen baskets.

Laura said: "People don't need to steal them.

"We would happily give them to folk for free, we'd do anything for anyone.

"They just have to ask.

"We are just trying our best to help people.

"We had hanging baskets back up there straight away to show them that nothing will stop us."

The project works with a range of people from across the area, encouraging people to be more eco-friendly and helping people with health problems get outdoors.

The basket, stolen last week, were put together by their Stepping Stones group for young adults with severe autism after plants were donated by the Broomhill Community Garden.