With rural security a hot topic in the nursery trade of late, Flornaplants in West Lancashire is the latest victim of plant thieves.
Last Thursday night, raiders broke into Florna Plants, a wholesale nursery based between Preston and Southport that has Homebase as one of its customers, and stole a crop of six-pack primroses. The 3.5acre Keder double skinned multispan polytunnel was cut open to gain access. In a separate block, glass was smashed to gain entry and a crop of 10.5cm mini cyclamen was trampled across, creating significant damage before more plants were stolen.
Proprietor Ian Howard told GTN Xtra the raiders probably used a vehicle to make off with the plants via a farm track running alongside the blocks.
“Neither products are ready for sale yet so I’m wondering if the thieves have facilities to grow them on,” said Ian. “We can't get our heads around the theft of product that has just been transplanted!”
With limited police resources in the countryside, how can rural nurseries protect themselves? In their 2018 Rural Crime Report, countryside insurers NFU Mutal say rural crime cost the UK £44.5m in 2017, the worst year since 2013, with rural Wales among the hardest-hit areas.
They say farmers and growers are resorting to medieval-style security measures like earth banks and fences in an effort to keep intruders out. Volmary at Wisbech St Mary in Lincolnshire constructed 12-14ft deep moats around their site. Others rely on the tried-and-tested use of geese and dogs to raise the alarm. More and more are using reinforced gates, high yard fences and single entry points.
Has your businesses been targeted by thieves? Let us know…and tell us how you are dealing with it.