Community orchard theft left me sick in the stomach

The Reverend David Farey
The Reverend David Farey

A news item that left me sick in my stomach this week was of the thieves who stole the fruit from a community orchard near Lewes that was supplying the local Food Bank.

That there are people who have such low regard for their fellows who are really struggling to cope creates all kinds of emotion; sadness, anger, frustration. The outcry on social media is predictable. A comment was also that allotment owners all over are suffering the same fate where those without any respect for other people’s property are stealing others’ hard earned produce.

It doesn’t of course stop at stealing fruit and vegetables. There are the regular reports of thefts from charities, stealing collecting boxes and the like. We also over the years hear the reports of burglaries at Christmas when families’ presents are all stolen. We also have the mindless vandalism that takes places with monotonous regularity. There has been quite a spate of people’s new cars being key scratched deliberately.

It is extremely hard to get into the mind-set of the people who will carry out these crimes. It is slightly reminiscent of the case in the early days of printing when Bibles were printed which in the reproduction of the Ten Commandments left out the crucial word ‘not’! For those living by that ethos there is an apparent total disregard for the consequences of their actions.

We all have a responsibility to keep the laws of the land and if we step out of line should expect the full weight of the consequences of breaking those laws to come down upon our heads. There are of course moral laws as well as the laws of government which it is possible to break which can also cause personal pain to others even though not illegal.

I sincerely hope that the law will catch up with the culprits of the orchard theft and that all those mindless vandals and petty thieves will be similarly caught and punished. I do believe that even if the authorities fail to catch the crooks they will not get away with it. As a Christian I believe in a higher authority which no one can escape from. Other philosophers might call it the law of Karma. A time comes for everyone and for anyone who has wilfully acted unlawfully or immorally to be answerable for their actions.

Meanwhile there were those around the orchard who have been offering to buy some apples or use their own limited resources to rally round and make up for what was stolen. Now that is a true community spirit at work!