Nova Scotia

'It's just not fair': Maple business reeling after break-in at sugar shack

The owners of a small N.S. maple business are hoping to restart their family business after a break-in at their Bass River sugar shack.

Owners of Bass River business have had offers of help from across the province

The couple discovered the break-in at their Bass River sugar shack on Thursday morning. (Kathy Spearing)

Danny Lemmon and Kathy Spearing are hoping they can get their maple business going again after thieves stole all of the equipment from their sugar shack in Bass River, N.S. 

Lemmon's late father harvested sap from the orchard for 50 years and the couple were carrying on that tradition along with other family members.

The business makes maple syrup, maple butter and maple sugar. 

They had been taking equipment and supplies up to the building bit by bit from their Dean Settlement home in preparation for this year's maple harvest.

It was on one of those visits on Thursday morning, two weeks after their last visit, that they discovered their equipment was gone.

"We had been preparing to go and tap trees, so all of these things had to be taken up to the camp," Spearing said.

"It's kind of hard to get into so you really have to have a really large four-by-four truck to get up there, or it would have taken many, many trucks to come out of there with our stolen things."

Kathy Spearing and Danny Lemmon are angry at the theft but remain positive. (Kathy Spearing)

She said someone would have been on site during the season because the boiling process is constant. 

Spearing said the items stolen included a generator, sap lines, tap-line hardware, bottles, filter press, propane tanks, tools, plumbing and electrical items and clothing.

More worrying to Spearing was that there were signs that the thieves planned to come back. The couple found boxes packed with their belongings left near the door. 

The family business makes maple syrup and other products at their Bass River, N.S., sugar shack during maple season. (Dan Lemmon)

The couple reported the theft to the police. Sgt. Andrew Joyce of the RCMP confirmed that a report had been made to them before noon Friday and there was an ongoing investigation into theft of equipment worth over $10,000.

Spearing said they are still trying to assess their losses and process what happened. But her posts on social media have already resulted in a community response. 

"We've been very lucky," she said. "We've had maple producers and other folks from across the province reach out to us to lend us extra gear."

She said they can't afford new gear. Even if they could, most of it comes from Quebec and it wouldn't arrive in time for maple season.

Spearing said she can't understand why someone would steal part of their livelihood. 

"For someone just to come in and say, 'I'm just going to take everything that you've put all your hard work into,' it's just not fair," she said.

A GoFundMe page was set up by well-wishers on Sunday morning to help the couple get their business back up and running.

Spearing said she is "overwhelmed" by the support and remains positive despite the ordeal.

"We love the process and we have some beautiful customers across the province who are all rooting for us and that keeps us going, that keeps us motivated," she said.

"It's a tradition that we want to continue and we want to be able to pass on and we won't give up and we're not giving up."



Vernon Ramesar


Vernon Ramesar is a reporter and video and radio journalist originally based in Trinidad. He now lives in Halifax.