Richmond Hit By Blueberry Thieves

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RICHMOND – Fruit thievery may seem like a small problem to most but with food costs spiralling and operating costs on the rise, fruit theft is a big problem for blueberry farmers in Richmond.

Over the past few years Richmond RCMP has received complaints from local blueberry farmers that their crops are being pilfered when no one is looking.  Fruit theft is difficult to quantify as partial crop losses are hard to estimate, however farmers have noticed a decrease in their earnings which they attribute to theft.

Blueberry theft is no different from any other type of theft as theft boils down to people choosing to disrespect other people and their property.  Cpl. Turley said “These thefts are upsetting for farmers as they have put so much time & effort into growing their crop, only to find that their yield has been diminished by people that help themselves to their bounty”.

People should be aware that berries and other crops are often sprayed with chemicals or pesticides after which they must sit for a few days before they can be harvested & consumed.  As a result, there may be potential health concerns to those that unknowingly consume berries directly from farmers’ fields that have been recently sprayed.

Farmers can protect themselves from theft by using preventative measures such as building fences & planting thorny bushes around their crops or at vulnerable access points.  The bushes should not be allowed to get to a height where they provide cover for thieves.  Another option is to have gravel driveways so that thieves are unable to make a silent approach.  Farmers are asked to monitor their crops daily & report any incidents of theft immediately.

The community can assist local farmers by reporting any suspicious activity around blueberry fields to Richmond RCMP at (604)278-1212, or if you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.