A Northland man has pleaded guilty towards the conclusion of his judge-alone trial to stealing beehive boxes and receiving stolen beehives.

Justin Mathew Howes, 25, of Titoki, entered guilty pleas yesterday morning in the Whangarei District Court where his judge-alone trial started on Monday.

Howes admitted one charge of theft of three nucleus boxes that belonged to Wellsford beekeeper Sylvain Bille who said in his evidence the boxes were worth $1000.

The theft, Mr Bille told the court, was quick and he did not notice any vehicle tracks on his property.


Howes also pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of receiving 12 hives owned by Northland beekeeper Paul Whitehead. The original charge was theft of beehives.

In his evidence earlier this week, Mr Whitehead said he discovered 12 of his hives located along Horeke Rd were missing during a check on March 23, 2015.

No one had permission to take them, he said.

He has been a beekeeper for 30 years and said he has thousands of hives between Whangarei and Taipa.

Howes also pleaded guilty to one charge of falsifying an apiarist in breach of the Animal Products' Act.

He used an apiarist's name to commercially extract just under 2000kg of honey at Marshwood Apiaries in Kaiwaka in April 2015.

During his sentencing in July, the Crown will withdraw two charges of theft and another two of obtaining by deception.

They relate to an allegation that between June and October 2015, Howes stole two 6m containers that had beehives, boxes, bases, frames and other beekeeping equipment.


The items, worth $46,000, belonged to NZ Queen Bee.

In September 2015, Howes allegedly stole a 6m shipping container valued at $2645, also belonging to NZ Queen Bee.

Howes was remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing on July 12.