The Dufferin Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is noticing an increase in agricultural trespassing in Dufferin County, culminating in a serious instance being shared on social media.
On the Canada Long Weekend there were two occurrences of people stopping on the side of Highway 10 in Melancthon Township 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, 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.