Robberies from houses are on the decline in the area. The main targets these days for thieves are copper cable, farm machinery, tools and the crops from fields. Farmers are having to resort to either staying up all night or hiring private firms to guard crops and protect their investments.
The freezing weather in December ruined thousands of artichokes that were ready for market. Later crops have survived but of course are fetching a high price at market and the thieves know this. They arrive at night with trucks and harvest entire crops – up to 20 tons at a time, then they go on to sell the produce at markets. One farmer at Bella VIsta says his crop has been attacked eight times.
The thieves are not just targeting artichokes, they are taking beans, citrus fruit, medlars and grapes even olives which have little value at market. . It is an increasingly worrying problem for the whole of the Vega Baja and the province in general.