Over-supply means 70 tonnes of strawberries went straight to landfill in Fife

Seventy tonnes of locally-grown berries had to be sent to waste because a mild summer has led to an over-supply.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds could be lost to the multi-million-pound fruit industry.

Farmers in Angus and Fife have told The Courier the ripening of fruit crops all at the same time has led to oversupply issues.

However, it is hoped the market can recover over the next fortnight, with Wimbledon increasing demand for traditional strawberries and cream.

The issue was spotlighted in Fife this week when it emerged 70 tonnes of strawberries were dumped at Fife Council’s Lower Melville Wood landfill site near Ladybank.

Fife Council has confirmed the fruits, which were already packaged, arrived to be processed as commercial waste.

It said the fruits could not go into the dump’s anaerobic congester because they were already packaged. They had to be sent straight to landfill.

The Courier understands the strawberries came from Angus and were surplus to requirements after a big glut arrived last week.

This is thanks to the Scottish crop ripening too quickly while the English crop was still at its peak.

None of the companies spoken to by The Courier were aware of the dumping.

However, several businesses gave their take on the state of the market this summer.

Angus Soft Fruits produces 10,000 tons of berries each year, representing 20 growers.

The fruit is worth about £35m and ensures employment in the area.

Angus Soft Fruits commercial director John Gray said better weather had brought on fruit crops early.

He said markets had been oversupplied the last few weeks but the situation was easing this week with Wimbledon the peak for strawberries in the UK.