Avocado thieves hit Hawke's Bay and sell goods on Facebook

A spate of avocado thefts down the East Coast have resulted in the stolen fruit appearing on Facebook.
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A spate of avocado thefts down the East Coast have resulted in the stolen fruit appearing on Facebook.

In the latest spate of avocado thefts, brazen thieves have been pinching avocados from East Coast businesses and selling them on Facebook.

Police are reminding business owners to be wary following recent thefts in their district, which stretches from East Cape down to southern Hawke's Bay.

A number of times, avocados had been stolen and later sold on Facebook, police said.

In July a spate of thefts between Tauranga and Katikati in the Bay of Plenty had a huge impact on orchard owners, according to police.

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At the time, police said they had been visiting fruit and vegetable stores to educate owners that any avocados with no stalks or long stalks were likely to be stolen.

If an person or shop owner has knowingly purchased stolen avocados, they could potentially be charged with receiving stolen property, which carries a maximum seven years' jail time.

Avocado thieves can potentially be charged with burglary, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, police said.

"If you have an avocado orchard or live near one please keep a look out for any suspicious activity and if you see anything, report it to police immediately," Senior Sergeant David Sutherland of Eastern District police said.

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"Also when you are buying avocados, whether you are an individual or shop owner, make sure you are buying them from a reputable source."

The community needed to work together to minimise risks to local businesses "and to livelihoods", he said.

"Report anything that's out of place or appears suspicious." 

 - Stuff

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