Police crack down on avocado thieves selling stolen fruit on Facebook

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Avocado thieves in New Zealand are advertising their wares on social media to cash in on soaring demand as police crack down on the illegal trade.

Police report dozens of night-time raids on orchards by thieves across the upper North Island since last month.

Officers have investigated “a number of instances” of criminals using Facebook to sell hot avocados, after police began patrolling fruit shops this season.

“We are seeing thefts on a commercial scale. We are seeing thousands of dollars of fruit stolen in a single hit and people’s livelihoods are getting ruined … it is not like just stealing a couple of mandarins off your neighbours tree, we take it very seriously,” said Sergeant Trevor Brown from Western Bay of Plenty. 

The dramatic rise in demand for avocados has sent prices rocketing, with wholesale costs more than doubling in the past year.

In New Zealand, sales of the trendy green fruit have swollen from NZ$70million (£40m) in 2013 to NZ$198m (£112m) this year. 


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