A Havelock North resident is baffled after two 400kg oak slabs valued at least $500 each were stolen from his property in the dead of night.
Retired barrister Bill Calver was shocked to find on Thursday morning that the large, 2.6-metre-long slabs, which were earmarked to be table tops for family and friends, had gone.
Sitting on the verge of his property in Havelock North, the 100-year-old slabs would have taken "at least four really strong people" or lifting equipment to be moved.
"It's a pretty unusual theft, I've never heard of timber like this being stolen."
The theft of slabs earmarked for loved ones has left Calver feeling "irate".
The tree had to be cut down before Christmas last year after half of it crashed down onto the road and the other half threatened the neighbour's house due to rot in the tree crown.
The specimen is believed to be at least 100 years old, planted around the same time the house was built 110 years ago.
Not wanting the good part of the tree to go to waste, the trunk of the tree was cut into slabs by a miller.
The two stolen slabs, and others elsewhere on the property, are being left out to age and dry before they can be made into table tops.
According to the miller who has been working with the wood and other inquiries Calver made, he said the slabs are believed to be worth a minimum of $500 each but probably about $700 or more each because of the quality and weight of the oak.
"An opportunist thief could never just steal them but obviously somebody has seen them and came back in the dead of night prepared with the right gear or enough people to lift them onto a trailer or truck."
Calver has made a police report and is keeping an eye out for any information.
He is hoping anyone with information will get in touch through Hawke's Bay Today and said he will make it "well worth their while".
"If somebody has a pang of conscience and brings them back then I would, I think, not prosecute but I would also reward somebody who gives me information leading to their return.
"Somebody might have seen somebody with the slabs on a truck or a trailer."