Thieves clean out roadside produce stall
A ROADSIDE stall relying on an honesty system has suffered a blow after thieves cleaned it out of produce without paying.
And it seems they are not alone, with other roadside produce stalls also reporting theft.
The Bargara Rd stall, near Kalkie State School, has been selling fresh fruit and vegetables straight off a local farm for the past few months but on Sunday afternoon, the owners, who wish to remain anonymous, noticed all the produce appeared to have been sold.
"We thought for sure there would be a couple of hundred dollars in the money box," the woman said.
"But there wasn't enough in there to cover the punnets of strawberries that had been taken."
She said her partner, who picked the produce himself off the family's farm, had been "pretty ticked off" about the theft.
"He's the farmer. He's the one that grows it, so what's the point in growing it if people are going to steal it?" she said.
"These people don't have a conscience."
Shana Mortimer and her family have been selling bags of sweet potatoes along Bargara Rd for about 10 years.
"We've had heaps of theft over the years," she said.
"Occasionally people take produce (and not pay).
"If they are that desperate to steal a $2 bag of spuds then good luck to them."
Mrs Mortimer said her husband was forced to design a special money box that was welded to an old pump and locked with an enclosed shroud.
"They can't physically cut the locks with bolt cutters," she said.
"We've had a lot of farmers come and design similar means."
Greg Rehbein was forced to weld his money box to his fence after thieves were stealing from his Bargara Rd zucchini stall on a weekly basis.
"About 18 months ago we had to weld the box to the fence," he said.
"So if they want to take the money, they've got to take the fence with them."
Mr Rehbein said the produce he sold was very good quality and that it was frustrating people would steal a $2 bag of vegetables.
"We are a bit over it at the moment, really," he said.
"It's just one of those things.
"It's not worth having someone there to man it - it defeats the whole purpose of having it."