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Lavender farmers' fury over careless visitors

Thoughtless tourists wreck valuable crops

The lavender farmers of Provence have had enough of inconsiderate tourists ruining their crops.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists head to the lavender fields of the Valensole plateau to admire the views - but the poor behaviour of some has finally prompted outraged and long-suffering landowners to voice their frustrations.

One told news website franceinfo that some drive their cars into the fields and take pictures of their vehicles in the fields. Others lie down on the plants, and many pick stems to make bouquets for themselves - hitting producers in the pocket.

Then, he said, they leave without picking up any litter they have dropped.

Meanwhile, professional photographers and film makers use the fields as a backdrop without seeking permission from the landowners, he said.

He added that police do not always respond quickly to reports of trespassing and damage to lavender crops. "The gendarmes are more concerned with security and parking."

A tour operator, who acts as a guide for visitors from China said that they have pleaded with groups to respect the products and producers, not to walk on the plants, and urged them to visit local museums and buy products.

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