Diane Ward is the owner of the Levin orchard. She saw 800 kilograms of plums vanish into thin air overnight last week. On Friday, a teary-eyed Ward stood in front of her 20 bare trees.
"It's really quite sad and disheartening. It's such a peaceful place and it has been tainted a bit. It's a very strange feeling walking through the orchard. It's like the plums were never there."
She said it was scary not knowing how the thieves got into her property and if they would come back, nor did she know how many there were and how long they were there for. Ward said the fortune plums would have filled 30 crates and taken her three weeks to pick and sort herself.
Growers intent on preventing further thefts
Thieves have made away with tens of thousands of dollars of fruit over the past couple of months, and now growers are speaking out in the hopes of preventing further thefts. This summer, growers in Hawke's Bay and Horowhenua have also lost avocados, watermelons, asparagus and berries.