A GREEN-FINGERED Dorchester resident has hit out at the heartless thieves who are ruining her attempts to put a smile on people’s faces.

Heather Robinson, from Bridport Road, regularly opens her garden – known as the Q garden – to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

In an added attempt to brighten up the exterior and also cheer up passers-by she has developed a habit of dressing up a set of lion statues on her front wall in various themed headgear and decorations.

Her handiwork has amused many passing motorists and pedestrians but she is now losing heart after seeing the hats repeatedly stolen from their perches.

Mrs Robinson said: “We started off with knitted hats and two of those were stolen. Then we had part of one of our Easter bonnets taken.

“Now we have got clowns and scarecrows and one clown has gone as well as part of a scarecrow. This is the fifth time, these yobs, or overzealous youths or whoever finds it quite funny, have taken them.”

Mrs Robinson, 66, said she was looking forward to more themed decorations to celebrate the Jubilee and the Olympics but she was concerned at the fate met by her previous efforts.

She said: “There is quite a lot of work that goes into them, I either make them myself or somebody else makes them for me.” Mrs Robinson, who raises money for cancer charities with her open garden events, added: “We are trying to help people and it seems whatever you do at times there is always somebody that wants to ruin it.”

She said a number of people had contacted her to say they have enjoyed the decorations and how it would be a shame if she gave up.

Mrs Robinson said: “I have had letters saying how much they have enjoyed them and how they had laughed at the hats and the decorations and they do make people smile as they go by.”

She said she had now put a sign outside her home trying to warn people off stealing the items.