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Trial over death of truffle 'thief'

A French farmer has gone on trial for killing a suspected truffle thief with two blasts from a pump-action shotgun.

Laurent Rambaud, 37, told police he was guarding a truffle patch on his land around nightfall on December 20 2010 when he was surprised by a man and a dog. Saying he feared for his life, he opened fire.

Police say the victim, Ernest Pardo, 42, was known to sell truffles at local markets. Mr Pardo was found with a small pick in his hand.

Rambaud told police he did not mean to kill Mr Pardo.

The killing took place in Grignan, a small town in the Rhone valley near one of France's largest truffle markets.

The prized delicacy sells for up to 1,000 dollars (£650) per kilogram (2.2 pounds).

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