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Spot check

marciadottin, [email protected]

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VENDORS of agricultural goods will soon have to show proof of purchase for items they offer for sale.That’s the word from the Royal Barbados Police Force in light of a series of praedial larcenies across Barbados over the past several weeks.The Praedial Larceny Act calls for the issuing of a certificate of purchase or receipt on the request of a police officer. “We will be conducting a future exercise in Bridgetown and elsewhere to check for the certificates of purchase or the receipts,” police public relations officer Inspector David Welch told the SUNDAY SUN yesterday.Welch said the force viewed the investigation and prevention of praedial larceny just as important as other crimes. His comments came against the background of several farmers who have complained about their crops and livestock being stolen, particularly in the Gibbons Boggs, Christ Church area.He also noted that investigations into the complaints were fully in progress. A joint meeting will be convened soon with farmers.“As a way forward, it is intended to hold a meeting (police/farmers) to come up with a programme to assist in the prevention and investigation of praedial and other thefts from farmers. We believe that once sellers of agricultural produce and purchasers who intend to sell retail co-operate and use what the act prescribes; this should significantly reduce the thefts of crops and animals,” he said.Lacked manpowerWelch added that although the force did not have the manpower to monitor farming areas on a 24-hour basis, routine patrols will be put in place. Independent senator and consultant agronomist Dr Frances Chandler said she welcomed the planned enforcement by the police.“I think that the enforcement of the certificates of purchase will help the praedial larceny situation to some extent,” she said.Chandler said the system was used successfully at one of the island’s leading supermarkets.“I think that the system should be put in place at all major supermarkets and hotels and there should be spot checks by Ministry of Agriculture officials to ensure that it is being used. Spot checks should also be made in the public markets. Of course there will be situations where home gardeners may be selling produce to supermarkets, but the quantities involved here should be small,” she added. (TS)