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Nursery offers $1000 reward for info on plant thief

REWARD OFFERED: Neil Hagreaves, the owner of the Ballina Garden Centre, is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who broke into the nusery. Some of the plants stolen were the distinctive finger limes. Mr Hargreaves is holding one which didn't get pinched. Photo Doug Eaton / Ballina Shire Advocate
REWARD OFFERED: Neil Hagreaves, the owner of the Ballina Garden Centre, is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who broke into the nusery. Some of the plants stolen were the distinctive finger limes. Mr Hargreaves is holding one which didn't get pinched. Photo Doug Eaton / Ballina Shire Advocate Doug Eaton

NEIL Hargreaves is angry and is putting his money on the table to catch a thief.

The owner of the Ballina Garden Centre in the Southern Cross Industrial Estate is offering a reward of $1000 for information leading to the conviction of the person who stole plants from the nursery on June 17.

Mr Hargreaves has a sign at the front of the nursery in which he describes the thief as a "mongrel".

And he has security video footage of the theft.

It happened between midnight and 2am on June 17.

A person is seen riding a pushbike around the garden centre on Southern Cross Dr for some time.

A car appears later - a white hatchback, possibly a Toyota Corolla Seca, 1993 model - and the same person gets out, cuts the nursery's wire fence on De Havilland Cres before making their way to the fence on Southern Cross Dr where entry was gained.

The thief took citrus trees - including some distinctive coloured finger limes which have only just come on the market in the past month - large kentia and triangle palms, trays of cacti and succulents and a tray of strawberries.

Mr Hargreaves said the stolen plants had a value of about $1000.

Mr Hargreaves has had some bad luck with his business in the three years since it was established, and it had only been re-opened a few weeks before the theft.

"It could be the last straw that breaks the camel's back," he said.

" The police said the thief was very professional."

Topics:  nursery robbery



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