Rural crime alert issued following ‘well organised’ break-in at agrochemical store

Growers and distributors of plant protection products (PPPs) are being warned to be on high alert following a break-in at a secure distributor store. 

Agricultural Industries Confederation warns growers and distributors of plant protection products following a break-in at Norfolk store. 

Farmers and PPP distributors should be on guard against the risk of organised thieves looking to steal valuable agrochemical products. 

The alert has been issued by the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) following an attempted raid on a major distributor’s store in Norfolk in May. 

Risk of further thefts

A spokesperson for AIC said that crop protection and agronomy companies as well as farmers should be aware of the risk of further thefts in the area and nationally. 

The criminals targeted the premises of the Norfolk store just after midnight, severing the building’s communication lines before climbing onto the roof and making a hole to gain entry to where PPPs were stored for distribution to farms. 

They are believed to have abandoned their raid and fled empty-handed after an alarm system was triggered, calling out staff and the police to the site. 

A police investigation suggested that the gang had knowledge of the site and experience with roofing based on the precision tools left behind at the scene. 

Advice for growers and businesses 

Hazel Doonan, AIC’s head of crop protection and agronomy, said: “Routinely reviewing security arrangements is always a prudent step for any agricultural business to take, given the relentlessness of rural crime. 

“In light of this case, farmers and growers should be extremely wary if they are offered product that appears to be exceptionally cheap or does not come from a known and reputable distribution company. 

“Inadvertently handling stolen goods has the potential to damage a business’s reputation and risks criminal proceedings.” 

Ms Doonan added that any business or individual selling or supplying professional PPPs must hold the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection. 

“We strongly urge anyone who is approached to buy PPPs from an unknown or suspicious seller to report the details to the police by calling 101, or to make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers UK by calling 0800 555 111,” she concluded. 

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