Warding off a pumpkin heist
By BREE PRICE
SURROUNDED by a solid fence and locked inside every night, a group of hefty orange giants have no chance of leaving the Alstonville Shopping Plaza.
And that's the way contributors to the Giant Pumpkin Challenge want it.
Security at the annual competition has been stepped up following last year's theft of several prized vegetables from a display in the shopping centre.
One of the organisers of the challenge, Val Haynes, said security would ensure gates to the inner plaza would be locked at 9pm each night.
This is to protect THE pumpkins, which can reach almost 250 kilograms.
"Last year one of the gates was left open, and someone got in and took the pumpkins and they were found smashed," Mrs Haynes, owner of the Alstonville Book Worm, said.
"One fellow was asking if anything would be done about security.
"He was still upset at losing his pumpkins last year.
"The best of the pumpkins go to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney and if they are stolen they don't get that opportunity."
The Giant Pumpkin Challenge begins today, with displays and entertainment, and runs until Saturday when the enormous vegeta- bles will be weighed.