Halloween horror as waste collection crew throw away carved pumpkins on doorsteps

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter

At least 20 residents woke this morning to discover their pumpkins had been taken from their front doors and porches on Halloween.

Residents in the Apostles roads area near Kingston Road, Rayne’s Park, believe their pumpkins were taken by bin men on the weekly collection round.

Paul Kohler, Merton resident and Lib Dem councillor for Wimbledon Town and Dundonald Ward said: “Parents have been complaining about them taking the pumpkins off someone’s doorstep and front wall. It’s just the lack of thought of course that sums up Merton council.

“It’s a case of them not getting the right instructions and not using a bit of imagination. This happened on Halloween of all days.”

Ring doorbell footage at 6.36am this morning of Jessica Sutherland’s house who is believed to have had had her pumpkins taken by waste crews (Picture: Jessica Sutherland)

Hina Bokhari, Rayne’s Park resident and member of the London Assembly said on X this morning: “Not really in the “spirit” of Halloween to have pumpkins taken from doorsteps with bin collections but that’s what seems to be happening. Lots of angry parents in Merton having to buy replacements and kids won’t be too happy either.”

Veolia provides the waste management services for Merton council and are responsible for the weekly collections in Rayne’s Park.

The news first broke on the area’s WhatsApp group, as a number of frustrated parents complained that their children were disappointed after spending so much time carving them the previous evening.

Jessica Sutherland of Sydney Road said: “About 20 different people in the apostle roads area have had their pumpkins taken, but those are only the people I’ve spoken to and are on the WhatsApp group. I’m sure there are many more and looking around I can’t actually see that many pumpkins left.”

When Jessica checked back at 7.12am, the pumpkins were nowhere to be seen (Picture Jessica Sutherland)

“My five-year old, Georgie, was very upset about it this morning. We carved a couple of pumpkins together. There were loads of pumpkins out and loads of people have had them taken. It just feels very wrong to do that to kids on Halloween.”

“I thought we were always quite friendly with the guys that collected the bins. My youngest used to love watching the big truck come in and all the machinery that goes with it.

“We always come out and say good morning to them, obviously not this morning though because we missed it. This is the first time we have had a problem with it to be honest.”

Jessica and other residents believe Veolia workers may have overreached in their duties. Jessica, in particular, was shocked about how someone wouldn’t know that Halloween lands on October 31.

When approached for comment a Veolia spokesperson said: “We regret that a member of our food waste collection crew incorrectly removed pumpkins from households. The operative has been informed of his mistake and briefed to ensure this does not happen again.”

A Merton council spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry to hear about this and hope this mistake by one of our contractor’s operatives did not spoil Halloween for any of our residents. Veolia has assured us they have dealt with the matter to ensure this does not happen again.”

Ring doorbell footage at 6.36am this morning of Jessica Sutherland’s house who is believed to have had had her pumpkins taken by waste crews (Picture: Jessica Sutherland)

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