Thieves steal German strawberry field

Lambsheim, western Germany. Image copyright Polarlys/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption Lambsheim lies amid rich farmland

Thieves have made off overnight with most of a strawberry field in western Germany.

Police say the fruit bandits loaded two-thirds of the crop from a field at a farm near Lambsheim in Rhineland-Palatine state, the local Rheinpfalz newspaper reports.

"The thieves worked systematically, and must have used vehicles to move to fruit," the police said, hoping that the scale of the operation means there should be witnesses.

The farmer stands to lose 700 euros (£613 ;$781) from the theft.

Strawberry fields forever

Strawberries are big business in Germany, with around 140,000 tonnes harvested each year, according to Der Spiegel magazine, with another 100,000 tonnes imported - mainly from Spain.

The fruit has become a more common target for theft in the sunnier parts of Germany in recent years.

A year ago, enterprising robbers used rental cars to make their getaway in broad daylight from a farm at Bad Sobernheim, also in Rhineland-Palatine, the TZ news site reported at the time.

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But not all thieves are as brazen.

One strawberry-pilferer was so consumed with remorse that they wrote to Heinrich Fuchs, the farmer in Konstanz in the far south of Germany whose fruit they had taken.

Paid in full

"I would like to apologise and make amends," the penitent wrote, enclosing the princely sum of 20 euros, the Südkurier newspaper reported.

Farmer Fuchs was so touched that he forgave his anonymous correspondent - especially as the theft dated back 25-30 years.

Image copyright JoachimKohlerBremen/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption Strawberries are big business in Germany

Reporting by Martin Morgan

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