A champion gooseberry grower claims he lost his title after his prized bushes were poisoned and killed by a suspected rival ahead of a prestigious competition.
Terry Price, 76, believes his crops were sprayed with a mystery chemical formula which caused many of his plants to die within a matter of days.
The former butcher and postman has won the competition, held in the aptly named village of Goostrey, in Cheshire, a record 11 times, and has been competing since the 1960s.
Last year the grandad-of-six claimed victory with a 50g beast of a berry - however following this year's 'sabotage', he had to settle for seventh after his best offering weighed a paltry 28g.
Terry says he noticed his bushes looking 'sickly' three months ago and that within just ten days they were dead.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Since then he has sent some of the plants for laboratory testing and discovered they were sprayed with a damaging chemical formula not available to buy over the counter.
Good memberries: Terry Price, 76, with his champion gooseberry in 2020, which weighed a whopping 50g
Terry said the 'sabotage' destroyed his hopes of winning the competition on Saturday.
Terry, whose wife Stella died four years ago, has not named his prime suspect but says he has a 'good idea' who is responsible and that he's sure the 'truth will come out'.
He said: 'They have been tampered with, there's no doubt about that.
'I could have cried when I found out because so much work goes into it and then it's all gone just like that.
'I'm sure whoever is responsible knows what they were doing.
'They know exactly where my best trees are and that's what they've targeted, which is why this year's competition has been such a struggle.
'I've got a good idea about who did it but time will tell. The truth will come out.'Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Retired Terry, who also previously worked as a gardener and lorry driver, first entered the Goostrey Show as an 18-year-old in the mid-1960s and is now its president.
His goose was cooked: Terry said his chances of winning this year's contest were dashed when his crops were poisoned (Pictured: Terry with his gooseberries at this year's contest in Goostrey, Cheshire)
The annual competition pits growers up against one another to