POLICE in Axarquia have arrested seven people accused of stealing almost 30,000 kilos of avocados in Velez-Malaga.
The suspects, aged between 19 and 30-years-old are said to have carried out thefts across a dozen farmhouses and farms.
According to the National Police, the group stole around 27,800 kilos of avocados, mainly in the El Trapiche area, and causing more than €60,000 of damage. Officers began investigating following complaints of a spate of night-time avocado and mango thefts. After increasing surveillance, officers reportedly identified several members of the group.
The National Police claimed the thieves access the farms by cutting fences surrounding farms before driving a vehicle in to collect fruit and help them make a quick getaway if discovered. The group were said to have sold the avocados and mangoes in fruit shops. According to police, the gang also paid several people between €50 and €200 to use their identity documents to sell the crops. Officers also allege the group stole farm equipment from some properties.
Over the past year, residents of Velez-Malaga and Axarquia have complained of a spate of avocado thefts, some of which have farmers with damage to property and trees.