Nora Johnson – The great olive oil heist

Olive oil lovers, brace yourselves. The retail price of Spain’s prized ‘green gold’ increased by 70% last year due to both the weather and … thieves!

Excessive heat and drought have left Spain’s olive groves parched. The result? Soaring olive oil prices and a peculiar breed of criminal who fancies ‘liberating’ olives straight from the trees.

Recently, the police recovered 74 tonnes of stolen olives around Seville. The thieves used chainsaws and explosives to cut down the trees and load them onto trucks. They were arrested, but they are not the only ones. Each time one criminal gang is dismantled, another pops up. Andalucía, in particular, has witnessed a surge in olive thefts, with hundreds of cases reported last year alone.


Now, let’s delve into the core issue – the ongoing drought. With the harvesting season now over in Andalucía, the world’s largest olive oil-producing region, experts anticipate the current harvest will be a staggering 40% below normal.

Consequently, some farmers are abandoning olives altogether, opting for trendy mango or ‘thirsty’ avocado orchards. But Australia’s avocado bubble has already burst triggering a price plunge that could happen here. Perhaps then, farmers might return to the trusty, less-thirsty orange tree.

Only time will tell. But for now, wouldn’t that be a refreshing twist in this intriguing tale of a ‘green gold’ heist?

Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers, including the latest ‘The Couple across the Street’ (, all available online at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.       

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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.