With the current shortage of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets, police have noticed an increase in county lines activity.
Vulnerable young people are being groomed to carry large bags of tomatoes hundreds of miles across the country, where they are sold to desperate users.
“It’s a difficult trade to stop,” admitted a police spokesman.
“We’re on thin ground if we stop and search based on nothing more than a hunch that someone is carrying a lot of tomatoes.”
With so many supermarkets limiting the amount of fruit and vegetables shoppers can buy, the prices being paid on the black market have risen hugely.
“Heroin is so last year,” admitted one veg baron.
“I can make far more from a carrier bag of leeks, and it’s much less risky. The police don’t know how to handle this.”
Members of the public across the country have reported seeing young men carrying suspiciously large bags of fruit and veg. Rather than reporting them, they tend to ask how much they want for a couple of parsnips.
“It’s a really tricky one,” admitted the police spokesman.
“Especially as our research has shown that, unlike class A drugs, fruit and veg are actually quite good for you.”