Consumers and Vendors Beware of Stolen Produce

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Jamaica News: Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Operations, Bishop Dr. Gary Welsh, is advising farmers, consumers and persons who buy goods for resale to be vigilant in order to protect themselves against praedial larceny during the festive season.

“Incidents of farm theft escalate during the festive season due to an increase in recreational activities,” he told JIS News in a recent interview.

One role of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is to execute the mandate of the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit (PLPU), which falls under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, in prosecuting crimes that fall under the Agriculture Produce and all other relevant Acts.

ACP Welsh said that farmers and owners of animals, particularly owners of small livestock, should take the necessary precautions to protect their property and livelihood. However, they are warned not to go outside the provisions of the law in an attempt to protect their possessions.

“It is important that they also devise ways to improve and maintain security of their properties, because the police are not able to offer the level of security that would provide that protection on individual farms and homes,” he said.

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These may include proper fencing, adequate lighting and engaging the services of security guards.

Farmers should also ensure that their animals have some unique identification marks, such as tattoos, tags or any other markings, so that they can be easily identified in case they are stolen or slaughtered.

ACP Welsh is also cautioning persons who buy and sell farm produce that they must bear in mind that the Larceny Act covers receiving stolen property.

He said the issue of receiving stolen property is a very deceptive offence, which morphs itself into the regular transaction.

ACP Welsh added that persons who are seeking to buy and sell always want to pay a low price and then resell at a much higher price. However, if they buy produce at ridiculously low prices and are required to account, one of the points to prove is that they should know the going market price.

He said they must have receipts in their possession when transporting the goods on the public thoroughfare, in order to give account if they are required to do so. “It is critical that you have a receipt or you may stand to lose your goods and spend Christmas behind bars,” ACP Welsh said.

Meanwhile, he is advising consumers to do some due diligence before purchasing goods, whether at the market or otherwise. They are encouraged to buy from reputable persons or businesses. “If someone just shows up selling a few items, make sure you ask questions or you may be promoting the illicit trade or even endangering your health,” ACP Welsh warned.

The JCF is also encouraging persons to give information to the police on those who are engaging in praedial larceny. However, they are warned not to confront anyone who they suspect may be involved; instead, they should contact the nearest police station, call 119 or make a report to any police officer deployed in the town centres or market districts.


Source: JIS News

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