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Berry pickers targeted in rock-throwing attack

19 Jul 2012, 16:30

Published: 19 Jul 2012 16:30 GMT+02:00

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The camp, in Mehedeby, south of Gävle, was set up with permission from the land owner and is now home to several hundred berry pickers, most of whom are from Bulgaria.

The attack is believed to have been carried out by nearby residents, with local youths being the likely suspects, according to police.

“That’s correct. But there wasn’t any actual fighting and no one was hurt,” said Peter Jonsson of the Uppland police to the TT news agency.

“When we arrived there was no one left. And the lack of a common language made it hard to find out exactly what had happened. There is information that suggests someone was hit by a rock, but we didn’t find anyone that was injured,” Jonsson said.

The incident comes amid growing concerns about the berry picker settlement, prompting meetings with locals with police warning that they “don’t want the situation to get any worse”.

Police have also increased the security level surrounding the camp.

However, Lynn Lindström, of the Mehedeby property owners association explains that the berry pickers have been causing problems for the residents.

“Local residents come to us with complaints and are very upset. We have to do something about it,” she said.

“They have fires, wind protection, cars and kids. It’s incredible. You’d have to see it to believe it. We can’t get to our bathing area because they are using the area to wash their cars, clothes, and to defecate.

“Of course, the whole thing is a shame but the situation is intolerable.”

According to police, several reports have been made by local residents claiming that things have been disappearing from their gardens.

The Expressen newspaper reported that petrol had been siphoned from cars and rubbish bins being ransacked.

However, police deny that there has been a proven increase in vandalism or criminal activity.

Story continues below…

“But as far as I know, no one has been identified. It's more a feeling that people have, that they believe they are berry pickers, but that’s not enough. No actual person is suspected. In these cases, you have to catch someone red handed," said Christer Nordström of the Uppsala police to TT.

“Many people don’t want to leave their gardens and this is an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s complicated because we have this freedom – it’s closer to being a political issue."

TT/The Local/og


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Your comments about this article

18:57 July 19, 2012 by Tdye
Keep it classy Sweden..keep it classy
19:02 July 19, 2012 by prince T
There should be no escalation for whatever reasons. Why not dialogue with these people. From the look of things they dont look like parasites on our bidrag.
19:10 July 19, 2012 by libertarianism
Why aren't Sweden's serially unemployeed picking berries??

60 000 - 100 000 SEK can be made in 2-3 months. No Swedish required.

19:13 July 19, 2012 by sohk
Yeah right, bulgarians ... I guess this is how most people have a negative opinion about my fellow countrymen. I do not support throwing rocks on them either, but I have to be honest that these "bulgarians" were not right to do the things they are doing. Shame on them.

Now I see why when I say I am from Bulgaria, I get this "hmm" look.
19:36 July 19, 2012 by prince T
The camp, in Mehedeby, south of Gävle, was set up with permission from the land owner and is now home to several hundred berry pickers, most of whim are from Bulgaria.

23:12 July 19, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Maybe the locals should invest in locking gas caps for their cars so you can't siphon gas out the tanks? It is a shame if it is true that things are disappearing when the land owner (s) were kind enough to allow this camp to be set-up on their property.
00:28 July 20, 2012 by jostein
These be gypsies, not berrypickers. Migrant yes, workers no.
06:26 July 20, 2012 by prince T
@jostein. I dont know where u got ur prjudiced information. I can realibly tell u that SVT visited the village and interviewed residents and workers. Berry pickers and workers YES. @jostein lying. YES
10:08 July 20, 2012 by hpunlimited
Why aren't unemployed people in sweden that are already getting handouts from the government picking the berries? There is absolutely no reason to import workers when we already have 100.000s unemployed in the country.

Someone in the government is not thinking.
11:35 July 20, 2012 by krattan
This is the result of open borders and freedom to work in the EU. I don't see any easy solution as there are very varied standards of living in Europe. Anyone seen the Borat movie picturing a village in Romania ? This camp might actually not be too far from what they are used to. 50 years ago many Swedes had a simple shed outside of the house for toilet. 100 years ago most had to use a well to get fresh water.

For several years the government has failed to implement working policies. Ultimately it is down to customers wanting to pay the real price for hand picked berries and for choosing resellers who provide their workers with acceptable living conditions.
13:29 July 20, 2012 by jostein
06:26 July 20, 2012 by prince T


I leave it to other swedishreaders to decide which article seems more complete and less confusing.
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