A SHOPKEEPER whose store was vandalised within five months of being open has praised the community after they rallied round to support her.

Plant One on Me, on Upper Millergate, in Sunbridgewells, opened in May, but its three metre wide front window was damaged during the morning of the Women's UCI World Championship race on September 28.

The vandalism left owner Ursula Sutcliffe devastated as she feared having to fork out thousands of pounds for the repairs herself.

But she was cheered-up by her new customers and neighbours who all supported her in the aftermath of the vandalism by offering to donate money towards a new window.

And she later found out that Sunbridgewells insurance will cover what could have been a hefty repair bill.

Ursula said the random acts of kindness "restored her faith in humanity" after the callous vandalism had left her shocked when she turned up for work.

"It was really upsetting," she said.

"It was going to be expensive and we were quoted between £1,500 and £3,000 for the repairs, but our insurance is going to cover it.

"The week it happened, I had a lot of people coming in to say how sorry they were and leaving money as donations towards the repairs.

"Homeless people were telling me they would make sure my shop was looked after.

"These kind of things were making me cry more than the window because I couldn't believe how generous people were being.

"People have been so lovely about it.

"Even if I was outside cleaning up, someone would stop and say 'I'm so sorry about what has happened.

"It just goes to show that there are people about who are mindless, but on the other hand there are others who want to help out and do whatever they can."

Ursula hails from Holme Wood and has spent the last five years travelling with her actor son Zak Sutcliffe, 18, but has always had a dream of opening her own shop.

The idea for the business came as she entered what she describes the "second phase of her life" and began to look for a new venture.

She decided to take the plunge and open the house plant and tea room business earlier this year and has been rewarded by some of customers which have come into her shop.

She added: "We didn't take out any loans to do this.

"We did what we had to do and people have responded to it really well.

"What happened was heartbreaking because the window was so big and visual, but all of this has blown my expectations.

"The shop itself has become its own community.

"People of all ages come in here and there is a nine-year-old who buys a plant every week and people in their 80s.

Police are now appealing for information about the vandalism.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "This is believed to have happened between 6pm on 27 September and 6am on 28 September.

"Anyone with information to call police on 101, use the contact options online or report anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.