Fruit picking could soon become a thing of the past in Harrogate, as cheeky pickers are taking more than their fair share at ‘pick your own’ farm events.
Wharfedale Grange is one of few such farms offering the activity this summer, and owners were forced to charge a refundable entry fee on their opening weekend, to deter would-be fruit thieves.
The charge of £2.50 per adult and £1.50 per child was levied after minibuses of up to 10 people allegedly trawled through fields for hours in 2012, returning with just one basket of fruit between them.
Farm owner Claire Snowden told the Harrogate Advertiser: “Every other PYO around us has closed down.
“We tend to attract a lot of people who think it is OK for them to come and eat their way through the field, coming back with half a basket of fruit.”
The charge was fully refundable against any basket of fruit over £10.
Claire said: “The field is packed with prime fruit in the first week.
“We get minibuses with one driver and lots of children, and the children come back with juice on their faces, and the group would have one basket between them.
“It is very difficult to police as you can’t charge one group and not another but charging luckily put them off.”
It is unclear whether Wharfedale Grange will open for PYO next year.
Claire said: “Many farms don’t do PYO anymore, and people have asked why we didn’t charge before.
“It is too early to say if we will open for it next year.”
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