Farmers hurl vegetables in tractor rage attacks

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By Rob Banks
Crime Editor

Country lanes have become a bloody battle ground with rival farm workers fighting each other in their rush to get the harvest in on time.

Police have been called to a worrying number of so-called “tractor rage” incidents, where farmers have been hurling vegetables as well as abuse with each other.

Problems escalate when tractors from rival farms meet head-on in a narrow lane – and both refuse to back down.

In one case this week in Ashbocking, near Ipswich, a farmer dispatched his slurry trailer and hosed down his neighbour’s workers because they refused to budge from the road.

Police were called to the slurry-spraying drama

The problem is magnified in August as farmers rush to harvest cereal crops like wheat and barley – just as other vegetables including onions, potatoes and even leeks also need collecting.

With only a small window of time to get it all done between rainy days, tempers fray quickly.

At Peasenhall, near Framlingham, two tractors from rival farms met head-on and the situation soon got out of hand.

One farmer had a trailer of potatoes, the other was full of onions. These became perfect “missiles” as the red-faced pair ducked and dived behind their trailors while launching vegetables at each other.

Police sped to that incident after a mum out for a walk complained a potato landed in her baby’s pram. Both tractor drivers were cautioned for public order offences.

Large leek

Elsewhere, in Ixworth another incident led to a farm worker being hospitalised after he was slapped around the head with a large leek.

One man was arrested and will appear before Bury St Edmunds magistrates on Monday, charged with assault and the possession of a dangerous vegetable.

A police spokesman told the Suffolk Gazette: “We appreciate getting the harvest in is always a stressful time of year for farmers.

“However, we would urge them to keep a lid on their tempers and be respectful to each other on country lanes.

“Throwing vegetables at each other is not the way for grown-up men to behave, and we will make more arrests if it continues.”

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