Oyster Sting Operation Has Prevented Theft Since 2016

A French oyster farmer has his own way of catching thieves, and it works.

If someone stole three tons of oysters from you, I'm sure you'd want to catch the thieves, too. One French oyster farmer decided to take justice into his own hands and developed a creative way to catch oyster thieves, reports Reuters.

Christophe Guinot raises his shellfish in Port-Leucate on France's Mediterranean coast, and after having a significant amount of them stolen he devised a plan to prevent further theft. He grabbed empty oyster shells, filled each one with a typed-up note, and glued the shells back together. The notes tell whoever opens them that they've just won their weight in oysters and to call a specific phone number. Theoretically, when the "winner" calls they're asked where they purchased the oysters and if it is not from one of Guinot's regular vendors, then voila, there's a lead to track down the thieves.

Great news for the oyster farmers out there, but I do wonder about the "winners." I mean, they just bought some oysters, hoping to enjoy a delicacy, and then crack them open only to find an empty shell and a note. Then, they get all riled up thinking they've won pounds upon pounds of oysters only to find out they're a pawn in a plot to prove that their original purchase was (potentially) stolen goods. Do they wind up with the promised prize, or just an empty shell of a stomach?

Guinot's crafty plan has not only helped prevent more oyster loss from his farm since 2016 but has also become popular among other farmers as well. Although no one has called to claim the prize from Guinot, other local farmers who adopted the same method have received calls and the police were alerted. It appears that since word has spread locally about this clever operation, thieves have been deterred from attempting to steal more oysters. The French Interior Ministry reported no oyster thefts in 2020.