Neighbours horrified as ‘phantom plant plucker’ goes on rampage stealing prized pots and uprooting shrubs from gardens

A GREEN-fingered bandit dubbed the "phantom plant plucker" has been blamed for a spree of raids on her neighbours' gardens.

Miffed residents have had prized pot plants and succulents pinched and shrubs uprooted by the dastardly digger.

Around 250 people have been warned to be on the lookout for the suburban prowler in the St Andrews district of Sydney, Australia.

Furious victims want her to leaf it out – and now they have helped police root out the alleged culprit.

"We had quite a few hits from her," Rob Lillis told 9 Now News.

"Quite a few pots went first, just small pots, enough for her to carry I suppose and the other plants were just random.

"She just pulled them out here and there. They're not great value but it's a bit of pride that you have in it and you cherish those things."

He checked his security cameras and spotted a hooded figure lugging a bag over her shoulder.

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Rob said: "As soon as I saw her camouflaged I thought, yeah, we're not the first ones she's hit."

Meanwhile footage from another street showed a figure bending down to pluck plants with her bare hands and stashing them in a bag.

Some raids have taken place in the dead of night and others in broad daylight, according to reports.

Victims say the bandit leaves dying plants alone and goes for the vigorous specimens.

Andrew Waterson said: "The first time they hit us, they basically took ten plants all along here.

"Even came down the driveway a bit and took some of the ones from there. My wife lost all of her ones that were flowering.

"They came back next week and then ripped out a lot of the succulents that we had, ripped out the succulents, took the bits they wanted and threw the rest back down.

"One of the ones she knocked off, my wife had spent three years shaping it to the

"One of the ones she knocked off, my wife had spent three years shaping it to the way she wanted and then gone, then just came and ripped the whole plant out by the root."

He added he has been forced to install security cameras and a fence he didn't want.

Pay Heaney said his wife had lost some of her plants too.

He said: "She got this one and it bloomed and she really loved it, and she came out and all it was was a pot with a big hole and dirt on the ground where it used to be. She was really upset about it."

Sherrie Robinson has been charged with four counts of larceny, or theft of personal property.

In September we told how a thief swiped a family's prized window planter and left a bizarre Tinkerbell card and £15 in cash in Penzance, Cornwall.

Meanwhile swingers' favourite pampas grass is now so fashionable it has sparked a crime wave as crooks sell stolen plants for £150.

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