THE GUARDIA CIVIL has seized 74 tons of stolen olives from a Sevilla province warehouse- the latest theft triggered by soaring prices caused by a dwindling harvest.
Twelve people have been arrested in the town of Pilas for their suspected involvement in the theft and trading of the olives.
A further 11 people are being investigated for their part in the plot.
374 barrels of olives with a retail value of €500,000 were impounded by the Guardia Civil.
The thieves were rumbled after the Guardia started probing the disappearance of a large amount of copper from a crop irrigation network.
They discovered that the ring-leader was also involved in stealing olives which he delivered to a Pilas warehouse owner late at night and behind closed doors.
The businessman immediately soaked the olives in brine so that they would not be detected in the weighing and storage area of his premises during routine inspections.
Government inspectors and the Guardia Civil raided the building to bring down the clandestine olive operation.
The owner was arrested while four of his children are being investigated for being involved in the processing and selling of the olives.
It’s been revealed that the warehouse had an extensive history of accepting stolen olives and the business has been closed down by authorities.