17 Feb 2015

Yacht theft accused facing further charges

10:19 pm on 17 February 2015

One of the New Zealanders who allegedly stole a yacht from the Bay of Islands is facing further charges in Australia.

Police in New South Wales, Australia

Police in New South Wales, Australia (file photo) Photo: AAP

The yacht went missing from the Bay of Islands a fortnight ago and 58-year-old Paul James Bennett and 38-year-old Simone Wright were arrested by the New South Wales police last night.

Mr Bennett has been charged with receiving stolen goods.

He is also facing six further charges that date back to 2003.

They allege fraud, blackmail and obtaining money by deception.

Mr Bennett did not enter a plea on the stolen goods charge and was remanded in custody.

Ms Wright has been released but police were continuing to investigate her.

Bounty for spotting yacht

Felix Fielding, a 19-year-old New Zealander holidaying in Sydney is credited with spotting the yacht last night.

South Island businessman Mike Jacomb had put up a $50,000 bounty on the pair, saying police had been too slow to act.

He said Mr Fielding would get a portion of that money.

"He understands boats. He knows the urgency of the matter. He will be suitably rewarded," he said.

"I have to say, there are other people who've put their hand up as well and they've certainly contributed. It's such people like that that will be getting the award shared amongst them."

The owners of the yacht said they were delighted their vessel had been found.

The boat's co-owner Carol Holland said it was a relief to know where the vessel was.

"It's nice to know what happened to it. It's awful just not knowing. At least we know what's happened to it now. We don't know what's going to happen in the long run but it's nice to know it's somewhere safe."