Two people have been arrested and charged with burglary after allegedly hauling several boxes of cheese off a train and into their vehicle.
A train bound for Auckland from the Manawatu became the target for the couple in the early hours of yesterday morning.
A rail worker passing by at around 7am spotted the pair running back and forth across a rail line, loading boxes into a car near Halcombe - about 30km northwest of Palmerston North.
As he approached, they sped off in the car before throwing boxes of cheese out of the window at him, trying to get him off their tails.
The worker eventually lost track of the car but it was spotted, with the couple inside, a few minutes later in Sanson.
Big blocks of cheese were found strewn across parts of the rail line and several streets in the Manawatu area, which police said a number of passers-by had happily helped themselves to.
The train that was carrying the cheese passed through Halcombe at around 1am - six hours before the suspects were spotted.
Constable John Green said that that indicated the cheese may have been moved or stored for later collection.
On the train's arrival in Auckland, it was found that five of its containers had been broken into.
The theft would have required the train to be stationary and bolt cutters would have been needed to gain entry to the container, he said. "If the container has been tampered with there will be MAF issues to consider that will affect the onward travel of the container and have significant implications for the exporter."
A 23-year-old woman from Marton has been charged with burglary, receiving stolen goods, possession of a Class A and B drug and possession of drug utensils.
Her partner - a 21-year-old man from Hunterville - has also been charged with burglary, receiving stolen goods, possession of a Class B drug and permitting a vehicle to be used for drug offending.
They are due to appear in the Feilding District Court on Monday.
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NZPA