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Thieves steal pig farmer's festive stock

PUBLISHED: 09:26 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:49 12 July 2010

Pig breeder Philip Brown in his empty walk-in fridge.

Pig breeder Philip Brown in his empty walk-in fridge.

A pig breeder has had all his Christmas meat stolen in the third raid at his business premises in five years.

Thieves drove across fields in a stolen vehicle, to avoid security cameras, before smashing the windows at Philip Brown's unit at an industrial estate in Rickinghall, stripping it of gammon, bacon and sides of pork worth more than £5,000.

A pig breeder has had all his Christmas meat stolen in the third raid at his business premises in five years.

Thieves drove across fields in a stolen vehicle, to avoid security cameras, before smashing the windows at Philip Brown's unit at an industrial estate in Rickinghall, stripping it of gammon, bacon and sides of pork worth more than £5,000. They used an acetylene cutter to break into an outside freezer at the site, and even took his butcher's knives to cut up the sides of pork.

“We do rare breed Gloucester Old Spot which we rear at our smallholding and cut up at the butchery, which is three miles down the road.” Mr Brown said.

“It means we won't have any gammon for Christmas because of the process we use, which is an old-fashioned method, even if we had the pigs. I've now got to phone 40 or 50 people to say they aren't going to get their Christmas gammon. ”

The sides of pork were dragged through the broken windows so the meat may be contaminated with shards of glass. And Mr Brown is warning that the rest of the meat may also be unfit for consumption after being removed from a cold store and loaded into a vehicle previously used to transport grain.

“They threw out all the grain inside this vehicle, so you don't know what state it is going to be in. The meat might have glass in it, so it's not going to do you any good,” he said.

Mr Brown added that crime figures are reported to be falling, yet he has been targeted three times in five years.

“There isn't much more security we can do. We are only a very small farm and we cannot afford to spend thousands of pounds.

“At the same times as they broke into us, they went through some other containers and they burned locks off with acetylene. No matter what we did, they were going to get in,” he said.

Suffolk police are appealing for information about the break-in, between 6pm on Tuesday and 8am Wednesday, and would also like to hear from anyone who may be offered the meat for sale.

The crime is being linked with an attempted theft from a container at the site during the above times, and the theft of a green and brown Isuzu 4x4, registration M450CEX.

The car was stolen from an open barn at a nearby farm in Rectory Road, Wortham, between 2.30am and 4.50pm on Wednesday. The car has been modified for agricultural use, has a bird feeder on the back and no rear seats.

Any information to PC Richard Morgan at Eye police station on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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