A brazen garden thief is wreaking havoc on backyards in a central Auckland suburb.
Mt Roskill resident Clair Stewart caught an elderly man in her backyard pilfering herbs from her garden, according to a report from Fairfax.
"It was a bit surreal when I went out there and found out he wasn't who I thought he was going to be, like a courier or something like that," she told Fairfax.
When she approached him he didn't run, but smiled and bowed at her.
"I don't know what he thought I would say but of course I swore a bit," she told Fairfax.
She tried to pull some of the herbs off him, but he countered by grabbing them back off her.
He then sped off on a bike with a box of herbs, fruit and vegetables.
It wasn't the last she would see of her uninvited garden guest.
He returned the next day and sauntered down her neighbour's drive, she told Fairfax.
Stewart followed him in her car but lost track of him.
Stewart's daughter Jessie posted about the thief on social media, and found out other residents had also been on the receiving end of his backyard plundering.
It's been alleged that the man sells his loot at the Wesley Community Centre markets.
Stewart visited the markets and the man was there, she told Fairfax.
"There he was, in the same clothes he had worn when he walked down the back here."
She took a photo of him and intends to report the incident to police.
Stewart said she would give the man some herbs if they were for personal use.
She told Fairfax he appeared to speak poor English, but that he "needs to be talked to by somebody otherwise he just won't stop".