A young boy has been arrested in Australia after admitting to putting needles in strawberries.
At least six brands of strawberries have been found to be contaminated with sewing needles and pins in recent weeks.
New South Wales Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said today that a young boy had been apprehended over behaviour that ‘could be a prank’.
He said: “Obviously in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries, and he’ll be dealt with under the youth cautioning system.”
The maximum sentence in the region for contaminating a food source is 10 years in prison.
Needles were also found in an apple and banana in NSW, police confirmed this week.
Truckloads of fruit have been dumped in Australia over fears of contamination.
Needles were first discovered in fruit in Queensland before the scare spread across the nation, with discoveries in all six Australian states.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the deliberate contamination earlier this week.
He said: “This is a shocking and cowardly thing for this individual and others who have jumped onto the bandwagon here to have engaged in.”
Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz said what had started as a single act of “commercial terrorism” had brought a multimillion-dollar industry to its knees.
“I’m angry for all the associated people, it’s the farmers, the people who supply them, the packaging people, the truckies with families to support, who suddenly lose their jobs … it’s far-reaching,” Mr Schultz said.
Major Australian supermarket chains Coles and Aldi have pulled all strawberries from their shelves across Australia except in Western Australia state as a precaution.