Green-fingered thieves stole several shrubs from a roadside in Żebbuġ overnight, just hours after the local council had them planted.

The 40 Metrosideros plants were dug into soil on Triq Eugenio Borg on Thursday afternoon. By Friday morning, eight were conspicuously missing.

“I was left speechless when the contractor called and told me somebody had stolen some of the shrubs,” council secretary Paula Valletta told Times of Malta.

This is not the first time Żebbuġ councillors have had to contend with garden-minded thieves.

Just two years ago, a cluster of olive trees the council had planted in Wied Qirda were snatched away, with the green vandals undeterred by wire gauze put up around them.