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Landowners try to keep out berry pickers

Published lördag 20 juli 2013 kl 13.14
The path to the old camp site is blocked. Photo: Astrid Iselidh/Swedish Radio

Landowners have put up illegal barricades across country roads, to stop foreign berry pickers setting up camp this year.

Last year hundreds of berry pickers worked in the area around Mehedeby, north of Stockholm. The Swedish right of public access (Allemansrätt) allows people to camp and pick berries on private land, as long as no damage is done.

Blocking access to the land is forbidden, although there has been recent debate over whether commercial berry picking is within the spirit of the law on public access.

A spokesman from the Mehedeby landowners' association says to Swedish Television News that the barriers are "an expression of frustration".

Last year newspaper Expressen reported that around 500 berry pickers, mainly from Bulgaria, were camped in Mehedeby, an area with a population of 450. One of those living in the camp said they had no running water.

Residents said to the paper that they were worried the berry pickers would commit crimes, but a police chief said very few crimes could be connected to the workers.

In recent years there have been many reports of seasonal pickers being exploited, brought to Sweden in hopes of making money on the harvest and then denied any pay.

http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/barplockare-lever-i-misar-i-sverige/

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