The case of needles being found in fruits sold in Australian supermarkets have been solved. Last week, people across the country complained after finding needles in strawberries and bananas. A young boy from New South Wales (NSW), an Australian stated has now admitted to causing the needle scare as a 'prank'. Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said the arrest had been made in the past few days.
Smith was quoted as saying, "Obviously in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries." Smith said all offenders would "feel the full weight of the law". According to current state legislation, any NSW offenders will spend a maximum of 10 years in prison. However, Smith said the young boy will be dealt under the 'youth cautioning system'. Needle Fear in Australia and New Zealand After Strawberry With Needle Stuck Inside Leaves a Man Hospitalised in Queensland
Needle in a strawberry
The nation’s needle saga’s reached the GV with police investigating a case in #Seymour and reports of two more in the last 24hours. With the #Victorian #strawberry picking season about to get underway, growers are urging people to buy local @WINNews_She pic.twitter.com/vF4lMaiOon
— Beth (@ExcellBeth) September 19, 2018
Around 13 people publicly complained after finding needles in their strawberries. On Wednesday, a child found a needle inside a banana at a Newcastle primary school north of Sydney. He saw the needle before biting into the fruit which was in their lunchbox. The child brought it to to the notice of the teacher and thereafter the school informed the police.
Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra, "Some idiot, for his own reasons, or her own reasons have engaged in an act of sabotage. Now any idiot who thinks they can go out into a shopping centre and start sticking pins in fruit and thinks this is some sort of lark or something... that sort of behaviour is reckless and under the provision we will be seeking to introduce swiftly, that type of behaviour would carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison."
Strawberries dumped in a farm due to the scare
The wasted strawberries because of a sewing needle in a few strawberries awh 😢 pic.twitter.com/Lg6HTJrzLC
— Truc Tran (@truc6nt) September 19, 2018
Morrison added saying, "It's not a joke, it's not funny. You are putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk, and you are scaring children... and you're a coward and a grub. This is a shocking and cowardly thing for this individual and others who have jumped onto the bandwagon here to have engaged in."
That is just heartbreaking
Strawberries discarded by farmer in Queensland, Australia after the Needle scam. What a waste! pic.twitter.com/VN5kIlAWP4
— Be'Havin! (@WrongDoc) September 19, 2018
The crisis has majorly affected farmers as their produce worth thousands of dollars are landing in the trash. The demand for strawberries have reduced drastically and supermarkets have stopped keeping the fruit. Stocks of six brands including Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis, Berry Obsession and Berry Licious were recalled. Tougher penalties for contaminating fruit were announced earlier on Wednesday.
After the contamination scare started last week, the government of Queensland had offered a 100,000 Australian dollar ($72,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for causing the needle scare. Some stores in New Zealand also temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries.