The Praedial Larceny Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-Operatives says it continues to receive an increase in reports of Praedial Larceny acts involving the theft of cattle and sea moss between Praslin and Vieux Fort.
As a result, in a statement Monday the unit cautioned restaurant owners, butchers, food handlers and the general public that it is an offence to receive or purchase stolen animals or meat.
The statement urged citizens to exercise caution when purchasing sea moss and livestock whether live animals or their meat.
According to the Praedial Larceny Unit, so far for the year it has received reports of 34 cattle thefts compared to 26 for the whole of last year.
It disclosed that in one single incident in the South, a farmer reported losing five animals to thieves.
The unit has noted that contrary to the Praedial Larceny Act Chapter 3.05 section 3 (1) (a) of the revised laws of St. Lucia 2008, “A person shall not steal the whole or part of any agricultural produce in any place” and section 3(1) d “A person shall not dishonestly receive or unlawfully obtain any agricultural produce which has been stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
“The public is also reminded that a person who contravenes any of these law commits an offence of Praedial Larceny and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or both,” the unit observed.
“The public is therefore advised NOT to purchase or receive produce from suspicious characters. Butchers are advised to ensure that they obtain a receipt of purchase with a working telephone number from the person (s) selling to them.”
The Praedial larceny unit can be contacted at Tel: 4541708 (Southern), 4538438 (Northern) and 4563639 (West).