Fifty-two hungry villagers from Hwange in Matabeleland North province who had been dragged to court for looting foodstuffs from an accident scene escaped serving jail terms.
The villagers looted various foodstuffs from a Victoria Falls-bound truck that had overturned.
All the villagers pleaded guilty to theft when they appeared before Hwange magistrate, Gift Thando Dube.
The elderly were warned before they were discharged while the middle-aged were given suspended sentences. The youth were orders to perform community service.
The truck as well as goods recovered when the police conducted door-door-door house searches were used as an exhibit.
The court was told that the accident occurred on May 8 around 2 AM when the truck which was carrying bags of maize meal, rice, snacks, salt and biscuits on its way to Victoria Falls veered off the road and landed on its side at the 320km peg just outside Hwange town.
The villagers came en masse post haste and started looting the goods.
Police details sent to attend the scene were overwhelmed by the villagers who cleaned the truck, with some reportedly bringing scotch carts to carry the loot.