Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 17:09 UK

Fruit pickers' free for all ends

Many strawberries may not be picked this year

A fruit farm has stopped doing "pick your own" strawberries because customers were eating too much of the fruit without paying.

Hacker's Fruit Farm, near Cambridge, had offered pickers the chance to select their own strawberries for the last 40 years.

Mark Spight, who runs the farm, said he was annoyed at the number of people not paying for the strawberries.

One family were caught dipping the berries in cream as they picked them.

Mr Spight said he used to get angry watching people gorging themselves then only taking a handful of fruit to be paid for.

Bowl of cream

He said some people were eating up to 15 worth of strawberries and would come to the checkout covered in juice.

There had also been an increasing problem with unruly behaviour leading to plants being trampled and fruit damaged.

"We don't mind people going picking and trying some strawberries, but we once had a family come with a bowl of cream. It was shocking," said Mr Spight.

"We used to have a lot of children playing in the fields and trampling the plants. We thought it was not worth it."

This year the farm does not have any strawberry plants to be picked but sells them in the farm shop grown by other local farmers.

Mr Spight has replaced them with rows of redcurrants, blackcurrant, loganberries, tayberries and gooseberries.

Farmers fear strawberry shortage
29 May 08 |  Business

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