Although the golden fields of canola are beautiful this time of year, police are asking people not to trespass on private property in order to take photos.
Police had to issue the warning after trespassers in Dufferin County damaged canola fields in order to take photos for social media.
There has been an increase in agricultural trespassing in Dufferin County, culminating in a serious instance being shared on social media. On the Canada Day long weekend, there were two occurrences of people stopping on the side of Highway 10 in the Township of Melancthon and entering a canola field to take photos.
While Canola is beautiful at this time of year, it is a crop. It is a large part of plant-based diets and a source of income for our farmers. The potential damage to this crop is valued at $2,000, if only one acre is damaged. It will increase if there was a larger area affected.
Fields containing crops are not required to have fences or signage to deter people from entering, as stated in the Trespass to Property Act. Therefore, entering a field, whether it is on foot or with an off-road vehicle, is trespassing. If a person damages crops, then a criminal charge of Mischief could be considered by a responding police officer.
While Dufferin OPP will be monitoring for these situations, but we do need public assistance. The situation that happened this past weekend was captured by photo, but a timely phone call to the police was not made.
Dufferin OPP asks that if you see this happening, please call 1-888-310-1122 and report it immediately.
The Dufferin OPP is committed to public safety, delivering proactive and innovative policing in partnership with our communities. Officers value your contribution to building safe communities. If you have information about suspected unlawful activity, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous at 1-800-822-8477 (TIPS) or www.ontariocrimestoppers.ca.OPP Central Region Facebook Page
During the long Canada Day weekend, police reported two incidents of individuals stopping on the side of the highway in the Township of Melancthon and taking photos in a canola field.
“While canola is beautiful at this time of year, it is a crop,” an OPP spokesperson said.
A farmer is estimated to lose $2,000 for every acre of crop that is damaged.
According to the OPP, entering a crop field either on foot or by off-road vehicle is considered trespassing since they cannot legally be enclosed with fences or signs.
Even unintentional crop damage could result in mischief charges by a responding police officer.
The OPP has said they will be monitoring the circumstances of these incidents but ask that if anyone witnesses similar incidents in the future they contact them instead of just taking photos of the photo-takers.