Posted: 25/02/2019

Robbed retailer says all farm shops are “sitting ducks” after £20k theft


Farm shops are “sitting ducks” no matter how much security they have, according to a farm shop owner who was robbed of thousands of pounds of meat the night before Christmas Eve.

Andy Johnson, of Johnsons of Old Hurst in Cambridgeshire, told FFD there was nothing he could have done differently to prevent the ransacking of his cold store and the theft of huge quantities of turkey, beef and lamb, much of which was Christmas pre-orders.

Johnson, who claimed he was £20,000 out of pocket if loss of trade was included, said thieves have such easy access to tools and technology that all farm shops are at risk.

“It happened at 8.50pm on 23rd December. We were working at the top end of the farm getting the shop ready for Christmas Eve and they went in at the bottom end,” said Johnson. 

“We’ve done everything we can to increase the physical security but you can go to Screwfix now and buy a battery-operated angle grinder, or portable acetylene bottle [for cutting tools], and you’re in anywhere.”

Johnson said he believed the raid was carried out to order because the thieves targeted turkey’s between 14lb and 16lb. “They went through 300 boxes and took specifically what they wanted.”

Cambridgeshire Constabulary urged member of the public with information, or who had been offered meat for sale, to contact them.

This story appeared in the January/February issue of Fine Food Digest. You can read more on the digital edition here.

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