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Farmer offers honesty-box thief a job

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A FRUSTRATED farmer whose St Lawrence honesty box was ransacked by a thief has offered to give the offender a job – if he owns up to the crime.

Steven Carter alongside the roadside potato stall in St Lawrence that was broken into over the weekend. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (24672294)

A thief, who has not yet been identified, stole at least £40 in cash after prising open the cash box at the stall with a screwdriver, just off the Grande Route de St Laurent, between 7pm on Sunday and 6am on Monday. The thief also made off with several bags of potatoes.

Now Steven Carter, owner of Farm Fresh Organics, has described the situation as ‘frustrating’ – adding that it went against the Island’s long-established tradition of having honesty boxes.

However, the St Lawrence farmer added that he and his wife, Linda, would persevere with the stall. And Mr Carter has even offered to give the thief a job – if he or she is desperate for money and owns up to the crime.

Mr Carter, who has not reported the incident to the police, said: ‘The commercial estate across the road has CCTV but it does not point in the direction of the honesty box so we have no means of knowing who it might have been.

‘The cash box was forced open using an implement of some description, and a few bags of potatoes were taken – it was probably someone who was driving past who just used a screwdriver to prize it open.

‘It is not a vast amount of money but it is significant with regards to our takings from the honesty box and it is very frustrating when we have worked really hard to grow the crops. If people want to steal from honest, hard-working people then that is a sad state of affairs.’

Mr Carter also said that although he had previously had items stolen from his stall and was aware of other farmers having the same problem, most people paid up in full.

He added that if the thief took the items because they were struggling financially, he would consider giving them a job – if they came forward.

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‘It is just very frustrating because the Island sort of has a tradition of honesty boxes – it is a very nice thing to do. We have had the box there for about three years, just for the potato season. We have not had the money box broken into before but we have had the odd bags of potatoes stolen,’ he said,

‘People like coming to buy from the stall because they feel that the produce is coming directly from the farmer rather than a shop.It is slightly our mistake for not emptying the box on Sunday evening but we did not get back until quite late.

‘If they really are that hard up they could come and see us and we could try to help them out. We are a small farm now and we only have three guys working for us and we do not have a lot of extra work but we would try and help them out with some work if we could.’

Meanwhile, Christine Hellio who owns Manor Farm in St Ouen with her husband, Didio, said that she had been forced to install CCTV to deter would-be thieves.

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‘In the past, it was always a problem – that is why we ended up getting CCTV and it does do good for people to see that they actually work.

‘We do tell the police when we catch someone and we used to have a board with J-numbers out. The situation has definitely improved a lot but we have had to go to the expense of having cameras.

‘It is the wicked few that spoil it for most people.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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