A Northland oyster farmer has thanked the public for their support and assistance after 500kg of oysters were stolen from his farm in Whangaroa.
Owen Robertson offered a reward on Facebook to anyone who could provide help in locating the thieves.
He says thanks to the feedback he received they were able to locate one of the people responsible.
In an interview with Kawe Kōrero he said, “We caught one guy and the guy that supplied the footage he’s getting a sack of the fattest oysters he’s ever seen. I’m also giving him some money towards some more cameras and stuff so we have got one guy but I’m after all the rest of them. I’m after the salespeople and the other thieves I’m after the whole lot.”
Robertson says the stolen oysters were worth over $3000 on the black-market and the incident has had a huge emotional impact on him and his workers.
“It makes you look at everyone suspiciously that’s around your farm instead of waving out and everyone that I talked to said ‘this is an inside job,’ ‘it’s one of your workers’ and that really hurt me and it really hurt them as well and it’s not fair on anyone really.”
He is also concerned for the health of anyone who unknowingly eats or purchases the oysters as there is a high risk they could be severely poisoned.
“The people that take these oysters they really don’t give a s##t about anything or anyone aye you don’t store them in cold places or anything like that they just leave them on their lawn for a week and then sell them to people.
They transport them around in the back of their cars and things like that and they harvest them when it’s all rained out. I mean the night my oysters were taken the water wasn’t so deep because there was too much fresh water and too much run off from the farm they just don’t care.”