The increase in the value of carob beans has attracted criminal groups to steal these new 'golden fruits' in the Guadalhorce yalley area of Malaga province.
Investigations by the Guardia Civil began after several reports of thefts from properties located in the towns of Coín, Alhaurín de la Torre, Alhaurín el Grande, Álora, Cártama and Monda. The increase in the thefts came as the value of the carobs rocketed to two euros per kilo.
Officers identified four criminal groups and arrested 34 individuals, with a further ten people under investigation, for the crimes of robbery, theft, falsification of documents, receiving, misappropriation and money laundering.
In Coín officers discovered a warehouse which received the stolen carob beans without any type of control and without verifying their origin. According to the Guardia Civil, 156 forged documents related to the possession and commercialisation of this product were detected at the premises.