Friday, November 5, 2010

The spate of burglaries has continued but two burglars I am informed have been caught and guess what – they’re British! Now who would have credited that?
I know I said I was going to lay off the crime and criminal bit but having started with that story, here is one I would love to pass on in case you haven’t heard of it. It is not unknown for someone on Crete to lose their olive crop, especially if their grove is a long way from their house which is often the case. They go out one day to reap their olives only to find that someone has got there ahead of them and the trees are bare. It’s on a par with sheep stealing really as it means someone’s livelihood or a large part of it has disappeared. Reaping olives is a time-consuming back-breaking job that, after a day, leaves you totally exhausted. I know because we’ve helped out friends so it might have taken more than a day to rob the grove. But this is what I am getting to – in France an entire vineyard has been stolen! Thieves broke into a vineyard in Villeneuve-les-Beziers and stole an entire crop of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, taking advantage of a full moon and using a harvesting machine to seize 30 tonnes of the crop.
Farmer Roland Cavaille said similar crimes had taken place before in the Languedoc-Roussillon, one of France's best-known wine growing regions. He said the theft amounted to a year's work and about 15,000 euro (£12,900).
"They used a harvesting machine to gather grapes. This means there was no need to have lots of people, two people would have been enough," Mr Cavaille told Le Parisien newspaper.
"The area was quite isolated, it is a a few kilometres from the village and near a river. So the thieves were able to work safely. One witness reported hearing engine noises in the early hours of the morning and police have been examining footprints left at the scene, said the newspaper. But Mr Cavaille said the thieves were clearly professionals who could easily sell on the grapes. He said there had been a similar grape theft had been reported in the area four years ago and that another complaint had also been filed this year.
While his vineyard was insured, it did not cover the loss of the grapes themselves.
Mr Cavaille told Europe1 news he had no idea who had taken the grapes but that he was angered and surprised by the theft, as he believed there was a "degree of solidarity" between winemakers.
How about that then for a bit of chutzpa? 30 tonnes in one go!

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