French farmer held for killing Christmas 'truffle thief'

21st December 2010, Comments 0 comments

French police have arrested a farmer who allegedly shot dead a man from a neighbouring village he believed was stealing valuable Christmas truffles from his land, officials said Tuesday.

Laurent Rambaud, the 32-year-old head of the young farmers' association in the southern Drome region, allegedly sat in wait for the suspected thief and shot him twice with a hunting rifle on Monday afternoon, a court source said.

The dead man was a 43-year-old father of two with previous convictions for theft, the source said, although the alleged killer, also a volunteer firefighter, had not recently suffered any truffle thefts.

The much sought-after warty fungi can fetch up to 1,000 euros (1,300 dollars) a piece during the festive season.

The mayor in the nearby town of Grignan, Bruno Durieux, told AFP that truffle theft was an increasing problem in the region and that "people are getting angry."

"I support the truffle farmers, but I cannot condone this act," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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