Is it a thief with an acute vitamin C deficiency? Or someone taking the 5+ a day message a little too far?

Whoever it was that stole 1000kg of mandarins - that's a whole tonne - from a Northland packing facility, police would very much like to know.

The bulk heist of roughly 10,000 mandarins is all the more surprising given that it follows three previous thefts from the same site, and that the firm had just beefed up security in a bid to keep its produce from disappearing.

Previous raids netted "truckloads" of tomatoes and 29 crates of mandarins.

The thefts occurred at Kerifresh headquarters on Waipapa Rd, just north of Kerikeri. The complex includes offices, packing sheds, storage yards and a large cool store.

The Bay of Islands' top cop, Senior Sergeant Peter Robinson, said the fruit thieves were back again last weekend, this time using boltcutters to get through locked gates and make off with a tonne of fruit.

Mr Robinson suspected the hot produce, taken some time between Friday night and Sunday, was being trucked down to markets in Auckland.

No one had responded to an appeal for information about the earlier thefts but someone had to know who was behind them, he said.

Kerifresh post-harvest manager Sue Willetts said the company had now beefed up security even more.
As well as extra gates, the area was now patrolled and someone was always on-site.

While the packing crates were lost to the company, the mandarins themselves were reject fruit so the theft would have no impact on growers.

More than 3000 tonnes of locally grown mandarins were packed at the site every year - that's more than 30 million mandarins.