Cash and food taken in farm shop crime wave
A wave of robberies on farm shops across England has seen criminals target both cash and high ticket items, and highlighted the vulnerability of the sector.
Macknade Fine Foods, Apley Farm shop, Perryhill Orchards and Woodview Farm Shop are among the victims.
Macknade Fine Foods in Faversham, Kent, was ram-raided at the end of last year when a “flatbed-type Ford Transit van” backed into its offices, housed in a farm building.
Managing director Stefano Cuomo said: “What they hadn’t anticipated is that there’s a foot drop between the driveway and the office so they rammed the van and it got stuck.
“When they realised they weren’t going to get anything they legged it and left the van.”
The insured damage is estimated at about £15,000-£20,000. “It hits cash flow because we have to pay out for it before we get the insurance back in,” Cuomo said.
Apley Farm Shop in Norton, Shropshire, was hit just before Christmas. The criminals made off with the safe containing £300 allocated for Saturday and part-time staff’s seasonal bonuses, as well as a projector, camera and three laptops.
Lady Harriet Hamilton, marketing manager, estimated the total value of the haul at about £3,000.
She explained it was not just the physical loss that mattered, but the business had to change about 30 passwords to make sure data was not compromised. “Perhaps they were looking for credit card details, which they won’t get,” she said.
She said the business had turned the break-in to its advantage, taking the opportunity to improve security and vigilance.
“To commit a crime at any time of year is, of course, awful, but especially at Christmas which should be such a special time of year,” she added.
Elsewhere, criminals stole £2,000 worth of meat from Perryhill Orchards farm shop in Hartfield, East Sussex. The raiders took products supplied by Stirchley Bacon Company, Marsh Green Lamb and other goods.
Woodview Farm Shop in Sandy, Bedfordshire, lost £12,000 of meat and cheese in a burglary and in Leicestershire, police are investigating three incidents of meat and other foods stolen from Attfield Lodge Farm in Whetstone.
Cambridge Police have issued the following security advice for
- Be alert to any unusual or suspicious behaviour on-site or nearby
- Listen out for anything out of the ordinary – even phone calls asking about the types of meat you stock
- Consider perimeter security, and be aware of any weak spots where someone could enter unseen
- Think about using perimeter beam alarms which can cover long distances to protect large boundaries and might be cheaper to install than a physical boundary comprising fencing, trees, walls and gates
- Install good security lighting which can help deter an opportunist thief
- Consider lighting to support closed-circuit television
- Put dusk-to-dawn lighting at the front of the premises and movement sensor for the rear
- When buying CCTV ensure it includes “live view” so that you can monitor the cameras remotely
- Freeze brand, hot-brand or tattoo stock with your postcode to aid ID