The theft of fruit in the fields is, unfortunately, a practice that affects farmers relatively frequently. In this case, however, Francesc Pena, a farmer from the Granja d'Escarp in Lleida, was robbed of almost three hundred trees.
When Francesc arrived at his farm, he was amazed by what he couldn't see: 280 cherry trees that he had planted 3 weeks ago were missing. This unusual event, however, wasn't as unusual as he thought. "Once I made the public complaint, other colleagues told me trees had also been stolen from their farms," Pena stated.
Pena has filed a complaint with the Mossos d'Esquadra and fears the trees might have been damaged. "Trees are planted in the winter when they are asleep. Now they were blooming. They had to be planted quickly, or they won't hold up physiologically," he said.
The farmer said he was confident the DNA of the stolen cherry trees would help identify the perpetrators of the theft. The uprooted trees are of a protected variety, which will help to identify their fruit when it reaches the market for distribution. In addition, the thieves won't have the trees' ownership papers when they try to sell their cherries. It is difficult, Pena admitted, but there are options to clarify the matter because they were of a protected variety.