20 Jan 2014

Hastings apple orchard attacked

10:26 pm on 20 January 2014

A Hastings fruit and vegetable grower is picking up the pieces after vandals destroyed 5,500 apple trees on one of his orchards.

Kulwant Singh says he arrived at the orchard one morning in November to find his 10 hectare apple block had been destroyed.

He says it was a deliberate attack by people who knew what they were doing.

He says 100 rows of trees had been cut or snapped in such a way as to destroy them.

Mr Singh believes a team of attackers must have been involved in the night-time raid - he says even if 10 people were involved they would have had to cut 550 trees each.

Local orchardists and industry, he says, have been helping him graft over new stock.

But he's had to bear the costs of the attack that he believes will be $350,000 because his insurance company says vandalism is not covered.

The detective in charge of investigating the case told Radio New Zealand police are following several lines of inquiry into the incident, but that quite a bit more work is still needed to be done.