Tim Collins/News staff
At about 8:30 p.m. on Canada Day, a vandal struck at the livelihood of one of the Peninsula’s best known farms when a white four-door Ford F-150 entered the fields of Longview Farms, entering the farm between Wallace Drive and Central Saanich Road.
The driver then proceeded to do “doughnuts” (spinning the vehicle in circles) in the middle of the field where grower Eric Doublier said they did extensive damage to crops of chard, leeks and onions as well as destroying two irrigation lines.
“It’s a very sad thing to come here in the morning and see this kind of thing,” said Doublier, adding that the farm will, from time to time, have people driving along the farm roads without permission, but that they have never indulged in this kind of stupid, destructive, behaviour before now.
According to Sgt. Greg Johnson of the Central Saanich Police, witnesses say the driver entered the field and did some doughnuts, then left, only to return two more times to do the same thing.”
He said the police weren’t notified of the offense until the next day when the farm manager arrived at the farm. Although some staff witnessed the event from a near-by farm house, they do not speak English and were unable to contact the police at the time.
Johnson explained that, despite the delay in reporting the incident, the police have opened a file on the case and have already made some progress on identifying the driver.
“We don’t have an accurate assessment of the damage yet, but it’s easily well over a thousand dollars. Irrigation lines were run over and destroyed and of course the crops were severely damaged as well,” said Johnson.
“When the driver is identified and charged, they have a series of charges to look forward to, including the potential of mischief, damage to property, and a series of driving charges. If it can be determined that alcohol was involved, the driver would face those charges as well.”
Johnson explained that there is a whole range of charges possible, but that the mischief charge alone could see fines of over five thousand dollars and six months in jail.
“This is farming country and the crops around here are sacred to the population, it’s the farmers who are feeding us for heaven’s sake, and it’s an important part of the economy so we take this kind of offense very seriously. Luckily, we very rarely see this kind of vandalism take place,” said Johnson.
Police are inviting anyone with information on the occurrence to contact them at Central Saanich Police, 250-652-4441.