THIEVES have outraged local people by stealing tulips planted for the benefit of the community in memory of the son of a diplomat who died mysteriously at sea.
Six of the seven flower pots were taken from a decorative horse trough at the corner of Rickmansworth Road and Copse Wood Way, in Northwood, last Tuesday.
Since 2005, members of Northwood Residents' Association (NRA) have cleaned the trough and planted brightly coloured flowers at the spot to 'cheer up a rather dull corner'.
Following the theft, volunteers may now scrap plans to provide community flowers.
Ros Plume, secretary of the NRA, said: "Whoever stole the pots must have come prepared as they were buried in soil and quite heavy to transport.
"Someone has obviously just come along and thought, 'Bingo! I've got myself an instant garden'.
"The cost of the tulips is not the point - to quote the price of 50 tulip bulbs would serve only to trivialise the incident.
"The true cost is in the time and effort spent in providing the display for the benefit of the local community."
According to the Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society, the horse trough was placed in memory of Victor Albert Louis Morier, who lived with his parents, Sir Robert and Lady Alice Morier, at Batchworth Heath House, near Moor Park.
Victor had hoped to emulate his father's success as British ambassador for Russia. After time at Oxford University, he embarked on a voyage at sea, where he died aged just 25 in 1892.
It is understood that he suffered depression and during his journey he experienced many sufferings and disasters. His death remains shrouded in mystery.
The horse trough, which is inscribed with Victor's name, was placed at the request of Lady Morier, who died in 1903.
A memorial tablet of her and Sir Robert, who died in 1893, stands at Holy Trinity Church in Gateway Close, Northwood.
Mrs Plume added: "The losers in this are all the residents of Northwood, especially as we probably won't be putting spring flowers into the trough ever again."
Police are investigating the theft.
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