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France: Increased thefts of strawberries

Summer is the time when red fruits appear in the fields. Precious and expensive, these fragile little fruits are subject to recurring thefts. Producers are overwhelmed.

When the strawberry harvests are open to the public, many eat a strawberry out of two, therefore paying only for a fraction of their consumption. This creates a rather significant shortfall for the farmers.

But it gets worse; there is an increased number of organized thefts of several hundred kilos of strawberries. In Germany, a producer had his entire strawberry harvest robbed in 2018. The merchandise was sold on eBay but the thieves were never found. In Sweden, 1,500 crates of strawberries were stolen in 2017, without ever catching the culprits. The stolen merchandise was worth between 6,000 and 8,000 USD.

These thefts generally occur at night and the products are then quickly sold on the black market. When the thieves are caught, farmers are often not fully compensated for their loss. It is often too late to save the fragile products. Last year in Quimper, a thief caught red-handed was ordered to compensate the producer with 500 euros [562 USD], while the 220-pound merchandise was worth 1,200 euros [1,350 USD].


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