Police have laid a further charge against a 28-year-old woman in relation to a false complaint of a needle in strawberries in Timaru.
Yesterday police announced they had charged the woman with making a false complaint after she reported that she had found a needle in a strawberry bought from Pak'n Save in Timaru on Monday.
However, as a result of further inquiries, police have also charged the woman with causing loss by deception.
"This is in connection with the significant quantity of strawberries that were destroyed as a result of this incident, reflecting the seriousness of the offending," Detective Senior Sergeant Richard Quested said.
Earlier in the week, Foodstuffs NZ pulled strawberries from Pak'nSave Timaru after the report.
The woman will appear on the second charge, alongside the existing charge of making a false complaint, in the Timaru District Court on January 29.
Yesterday, Detective Inspector Corrie Parnell said it was disappointing that police had to take this action.
"But this demonstrates that Police and MPI's New Zealand Food Safety take these matters seriously," he said.
"It also shows that, where appropriate, anyone making false reports in matters like this will be held to account."
The false report came after a string of disturbing incidents involving needles in fruit, including a needle found inside a strawberry in a punnet purchased at FreshChoice supermarket in Geraldine.
Foreign objects in fresh produce:
• December 6:
Pin found in strawberry brought at Pak'nSave Cameron Rd in Tauranga.
• November 25: Needle found in a capsicum bought at Countdown Bureta Park in Tauranga.
• November 24: Needle found inside a punnet of strawberries purchased at FreshChoice supermarket in Geraldine.
• September 23: Three needles found in three strawberries in one imported punnet of Australian Choice brand strawberries at Countdown St Lukes in Auckland.