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Spain: Murcia grape thieves caught

Three young men are currently under arrest for stealing more than a tonne of grapes from vineyards in the south-west region of Murcia.

In September, the Guardia Civil’s rural crime squad launched operation ‘Videiera’ to coincide with the start of the grape-picking season as part of a plan to prevent robberies from farms and rural properties. There had been a series of reports from grape growers in the Bajo Guadalentin region that thieves were getting away with some of their crops.

Investigators carried out an analysis of the robberies, taking into account factors like the dates the grapes were ready for picking, the varieties of the grapes, the location of the properties from where they were taken and the access roads.

Patrols carried out surveillance in the most sensitive areas, leading to the localisation of a semi-hidden vehicle parked up off the beaten track area close to a rural property in Totana. A search of the vehicle revealed that inside there were several plastic bags containing farming tools used to cut fruit, prompting officers to search the farm.

There they came across plastic bags just like the ones inside the car crammed full of grapes: in fact 1,166 kilos altogether. They also arrested a 21-year old man from Murcia on charges of theft. The extent of the grape haul made the Guardia suspect he was not acting alone however. Further investigations resulted in the detention of two further suspects, one of them underage, and again from Murcia.

According to an article on all the stolen fruit seized by the Guardia has been returned to its rightful owners.

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