An avid gardener was so convinced his crop of beans had been poisoned in order to get him to leave his allotment he sent off soil samples for testing and called the police.
Carlo Attubato began to suspect foul play after the broad beans he had planted at his allotment earlier this year started wilting, while those at his home thrived, despite being from the same batch of seeds.
The 85-year-old, who has been tending the plot for 28 years, was worried enough to send soil samples and some of the affected plants to QTS Analytical, a science laboratory at Kent Science Park.
Results showed traces of historic compounds - DDT and metolcarb, along with solvents, including cyclohexanone, flouranthene and pyrene, all of which are harmful to plants.
These may have been left over from a burning process or could be the result of dumping, according to the lab’s manager Steven Mann.
The Sandling Road Allotments in Maidstone, Kent, was once a brickfield and previously used as a dumping ground for household waste during the Victorian era.
But Attubato, who has an extensive vegetable garden behind his home, believed foul play was the cause of his bean troubles.
He believes someone is deliberately poisoning his crops to run him off the land and so, decided to call the police.
Attubato, a former chef and self-employed builder, who came to the UK from Italy in 1964, said: “I've used nothing myself on the crops that would account for this.
"I've grown everything over the years: potatoes, sweetcorn, parsnips, peas, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, cantaloupes and broad beans.
“But I've never seen anything like what happened this year.
“I believe somebody wants me out of the allotment.
“But it's been very difficult to get the police or the allotment management committee to take this seriously.
“In the meantime, I've spent £72 for the analysis and I'm faced with the prospect of having to dig out all the polluted soil and start over, perhaps only to have the same thing happen again."
Police confirmed they had received a report of criminal damage at the allotment in Sandling Road and a PCSO had visited to gain further details.
But a spokesman added: "At this stage there are no identified lines of inquiry to progress an investigation any further."
A Maidstone Borough Council spokesman said: "Our Parks and Open Spaces team has been made aware of this allegation, although we have not yet seen any results from soil testing.
“We are willing to help investigate this and may need to take further samples following our own scientific procedures. More information will become apparent when the results of these tests are assessed.”