Page last updated at 20:31 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 21:31 UK

Rising costs stop berry picking

Strawberry picking
The commercial part of the business has not been affected

The owners of a "pick your own" strawberry business in Cornwall say rising costs related to public safety has forced them to close.

Louise and Phil Boddington run the fruit enterprise as part of their farm business near Mevagissey.

They were asked by their insurance company to install handrails by drainage ditches and cordon off potholes.

But the the extra costs were greater than any profits, the couple said.

'Fact of life'

"There is a move to try and open up farms, but our costs went up by more than the profits of the pick your own business," Mrs Boddington said.

"We also run a commercial farm here, and the regulations mean it is not possible to make it suitable for the public, so we cannot run both businesses."

Mr Boddington's grandfather set up the farm 60 years ago and was one of the "pick your own" pioneers.

Mr Boddington said his insurance costs went up following a claim filed last year for an elderly woman who injured herself when she fell at the farm. He said it was only the second insurance claim in about 30 years.

The National Farmers' Union said public liability insurance and risk assessments were an everyday fact of life for modern farmers.



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