A mother-of-two has admitted making up a story about finding a needle in strawberries bought from a New Zealand supermarket.
Jaydean Temperley, 26, was charged last month with making a false complaint to police and by deception causing a $3565 loss for Pak'nSave supermarket, Timaru.
She pleaded guilty to both charges at Timaru District Court this morning.
The court heard how the supermarket destroyed 2040 punnets of strawberries following the initial complaint and police investigation.
Judge Joanna Maze remanded Temperley on bail for sentencing in April.
The court heard how Temperley went to Pak'nSave at 8.51am on December 10 and bought two punnets of strawberries.
She put them in her fridge at home before inserting a needle in a strawberry and posting on her Facebook page asking if anyone could see it.
People encouraged her to go to police as well as the supermarket, the court heard.
She received a refund and a $20 Pak'nSave voucher.
In an initial written statement to police, she outlined purchases that morning and said she found the needle when cutting them up.
Temperley initially denied putting the needle in there herself, claiming a friend did it, but later changed her story.
It 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 – also in South Canterbury - on November 24 last year.
On December 6 last year, a pin was discovered in a strawberry purchased at Pak'nSave Cameron Rd in Tauranga and on November 25, another found in a capsicum bought at Countdown Bureta Park in Tauranga.
Three needles were found in three strawberries in one imported punnet of Australian Choice brand strawberries at Countdown St Lukes in Auckland back in September.
It all comes after more than 100 reports of fruit being tampered with across Australia, sparking a recall of strawberries across three states.
Foodstuffs NZ have said that "malicious events like these have serious consequences for our customers, suppliers and stores".