Stall owners' honesty box raid dismay

Pilfering thieves have left farm owners considering whether to pack up their honesty stall.

Friday, 20th January 2017, 1:22 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 8:37 am
Photo Neil Cross We are not aMOOsed, John Swale with Matilda at the homnest boxed Milk Bar at St Michaels-on-Wyre

The stall serves residents in St Michaels but John and Anne Swale’s stall has been targeted several times, leaving them out of pocket.

With the village low on amenities, the unmanned stall provides every day essentials such as cheese, milk, eggs and honey but a string of thefts left them no choice but to install CCTV.

And the couple from St Michaels Hall Farm said: “We set this up to make a little bit of money but mainly to provide a convenient place to pick up the every day essentials without any hassle.

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CCTV of a theft on St Michaels Farm's honesty stall.

“It’s been outside our farm for well over a year now and we’ve had things stolen several times. We put up CCTV but it doesn’t seem to deter people. If it was people on the breadline then they could happily have it.

“But it isn’t, it’s middle-aged men and women and teenagers pulling up in nice cars and filling carrier bags without paying anything. The cash box is bolted down but they quite happily take the rest.

“Lots of people use and like the stall because they can pick up things without any fuss and we don’t make much profit from it at all.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “On January 11 at 9.15pm someone approached the honesty stall at St Michaels Hall Farm and removed items before making off in a car.

CCTV of a theft on St Michaels Farm's honesty stall.

“Anyone with any information about the incident can call us on 101.”

And Anne says none of the culprits have ever been caught and is now considering closing shop.

“We have thought about it but we want to try and continue for the people who use it,” she said. “If it happens again we’ll have to have a serious think about if it’s worth it.”