Jersey farmer forced to close 'honesty box' after growing number of thefts

Alex Spiceley went to meet people across the Channel Islands who have been affected by honesty box thefts.

A Jersey farmer has been forced to close his 'honesty box' hedge veg shop after an influx of thefts.

Graham Barette's stall at Ferndale Farm used to stock a range of local produce, from tomatoes to oranges, but it became unsustainable when a number of people stole from the stand.

CCTV obtained by Mr Barette shows a man filling his bag with £20 worth of food before dropping a few coins of small value into the honesty box.

The theft of £70 worth of produce was the final straw for Mr Barette. Credit: ITV Channel

Over a period of two weeks, the same man stole approximately £70 worth of produce.

The farmer says the first three years of his hedge veg stall went smoothly, but problems started last year.

"It's been increasing and increasing to the point where people are just coming in and filling up carrier bags," he said.

Christine Hellio from Manor House Farm runs a similar stall, and says the problem is 'escalating' which is a 'shame'.

Christine says it is only a small percentage of people that are ruining the stalls for everyone. Credit: ITV Channel

"We've got some lovely customers come every couple of days, and it's just a small minority that are spoiling it for everyone else." she said.

"They're taking produce and they're not paying the right amount. It makes me very cross and it's gutting."

Another owner of an honesty box-style stall says he is constantly considering closing due to dishonesty.

Jo Frere told ITV News that the solution would be to employ someone to work on his St Lawrence stall, but that it would take too much time and money.

The only thing keeping his stall open, he says, are his loyal customers.

Guernsey baker, Tina Guille, has experienced members of the public taking bites out of her cakes and placing them back on her stand without payment.

One day she found herself short of £30 due to having to throw away the half-eaten cakes.

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