Thieves steal $20k worth of mangoes from orchard
ABOUT $20,000 worth of mangoes have been stolen by thieves in the dead of night from an orchard in Darwin's rural area.
NT Mango Industry Association president Leo Skliros said the theft reportedly happened at an orchard near Acacia Hills between 10pm and midnight on Monday.
"Around two pallets worth of Kensington Pride mangoes, which would be worth around $20,000 on today's market, were stolen," Mr Skliros said.
"It looks like a group of people have jumped the fence and stole them off the trees.
"The grower had planned to pick this Friday, so he was only five or six days away from harvest.
"Our industry is going through hard times, there's a lot of extra costs due to COVID-19, so a theft like this is definitely a kick in the guts."
The thieves went down the fence line and took about three lines of fruit.
"They'd obviously been casing the farm for a while, because they knew what time and day the grower wasn't going to be there," Mr Skliros said.
Anyone with information about the theft is urged to contact police.
Mr Skliros said, sadly, mango thefts had been an ongoing issue for years.
"I've lost fruit myself on my front and back boundary in years past," he said.
"Another farm owner I know very well used to do the Mindil Markets, so they knew he wasn't at home of a Thursday afternoon.
"He came back one day and found almost every tree on his 300-tree orchard was bare.
"It is a pretty serious crime, and growers work hard for that bit of extra profit, especially on the early fruit.
"So for that to be stolen, particularly on a year like this, is hard."
The NT mango season is expected to start in September this year, a little later than normal. Last season's crop yielded about four million trays.
"We had a late wet season which means most of the trees were flowering later as well," Mr Skliros said.
Originally published as Thieves steal $20k worth of mangoes from orchard