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Swedish crayfish thieves pinched by officers

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Swedish crayfish thieves pinched by officers
Swedes love crayfish. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT
08:18 CEST+02:00
A pair of Swedish crayfish poachers landed themselves in hot water when they were caught in the act while trying to steal 200 kilos of the popular crustaceans at the height of Sweden's crayfish season, it has emerged.

The two men were promptly handed over to the police after they were caught poaching crayfish worth between 20,000 and 30,000 kronor ($2,400-$3,600) from a fishery in Vättern, Sweden's second-largest lake, by the county's official fishing supervisor Michael Bergström.

“We got a tip-off from someone who had got tired of illegal poaching so we went to the site. When we caught these men they tried to hide that they had the whole boat full of crayfish,” he told regional newspaper Jönköpings-Posten.

While being escorted back to shore in Gränna in central Sweden to be handed over to the police, the pair dumped the catch – which according to Bergström was around 200 kilos of crayfish – in the water.

“They understood that he had caught them in the act. They tried to hinder the investigation by dumping the crayfish, but the damage had already been done,” police control room officer Bo Kellerth told Jönköpings-Posten.

After being quizzed by officers the two suspected thieves were released pending investigation.

READ ALSO: Five snappy facts about Swedish crayfish

Crayfish has been popular in Sweden for centuries and evolved because the fish used to be a delicacy that could only legally be fished off Swedish shores during the late summer. These days you can buy imported crayfish year-round, but the domestic kind is still high in demand.

Every year Swedes throw and attend special crayfish parties honouring (well, eating) the juicy crustaceans while washing them down with snaps and some very loud drinking songs.

However, the cold summer has created a shortage, sending prices soaring at the height of the August crayfish season in Sweden. Honest customers hoping to buy theirs legally can expect to cough up around 350-550 kronor for just one kilo.

But Bergström insists Sunday's incident is the first attempted heist of its kind in 2015.

“I haven't caught anyone in the act before. We have picked up some equipment that had been mislabelled and some people have had too many cages,” he told Jönköpings-Posten.

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