Paua poacher nabbed after crashing his car in a failed getaway attempt

Jeremy Hepi was found to have 301 excess paua and 300 undersized paua after making a forlorn attempt to evade fishery ...
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Jeremy Hepi was found to have 301 excess paua and 300 undersized paua after making a forlorn attempt to evade fishery officers in Hawke's Bay.

A paua poacher who crashed his car in a failed getaway attempt tried to start it with jumper leads as a fishery officer looked on

Flaxmere man Jeremy Hepi, 38, was seen by a fishery officer at the south end of Blackhead Beach in Hawke's Bay on September 1.

When Hepi saw the fishery officer approaching, he sped up a small bank in an attempt to get away.

The fishery officer subsequently found Hepi's vehicle failed to take a corner and had run off the road.

As the officer approached, he found Hepi trying to restart the vehicle and advised him he was a fishery officer and to stop what he was doing.

Hepi continued to try to restart the vehicle and went to the front where he connected jumper leads and a battery to the car battery terminals.

He was then advised that he was under arrest for obstructing a fishery officer.

Hepi continued to try to get the vehicle back onto the road even after a second fishery officer arrived to block his escape. The vehicle eventually stalled.

Hepi appeared in Hastings District Court on Tuesday. He admitted two charges of obstructing a fishery officer as well as possessing 301 excess paua, of which 300 were undersized.

He was sentenced to 300 hours community work on each count to be served concurrently.

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The vehicle Hepi used in the offence as well as assorted diving gear was forfeited to the Crown.

Ministry for Primary Industries Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa District Compliance Manager, Ray McKay, is concerned with the increasing frequency of larger seizures of paua in Hawke's Bay which he believes was likely to be servicing a substantial black market trade.

 - Stuff

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