Thieves have emptied a strawberry field in southwestern Germany almost entirely of its harvest. A similar incident a year ago led to pilfered fruit being sold on eBay.
A farmer in Lambsheim, near the southwestern Germany city of Mannheim, has reported the pillage of almost his entire crop of strawberries. Police said on Sunday the 0.7 hectares (1.7 acres) field was plundered overnight into Friday and that the theft probably involved several people.
Police added that several vehicles must have been used in the illegal harvest and appealed for witnesses to provide any information they have. The damage was estimated at several hundred euros.
The incident is not a first for German strawberry farmers. Last year, a similar plunder took place in Bad Sobernheim in the same state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Thieves rented cars to steal the fruit and then sold them on eBay.
Germany produces some 160,000 tons of strawberries annually, more than two-thirds are for domestic consumption, according to the Chamber of Commerce for Agricultural in North Rhine Westphalia. Around 35% of the harvest is sold directly to consumers via farm shops and road stalls.