Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Australian police arrest woman for putting needles in strawberries

Australian police arrest woman for putting needles in strawberries

The 50-year-old woman arrested yesterday for allegedly contaminating strawberries with sewing needles has been identified as a supervisor at one of the Queensland farms impacted by the saga, The Courier-Mail reports.

The first discovery of contaminated strawberries was first announced by Queensland police in early September, and triggered a spate of copycat incidents across the country.

The needle crisis consisted of over 100 alleged incidences of fruit contamination with the majority involving strawberries.

Queensland Police said it has conducted a national investigation "with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies" - as well as a police task force in the state.

Earlier on Monday, Detective John Walker said the investigation had been unique in that it involved nearly every state and jurisdiction in the country.

A former strawberry farm supervisor was accused in court on Monday of retaliating over a workplace grievance by putting needles into the fruit and sparking recalls that devastated the Australian strawberry industry.

The woman was taken to the Brisbane watch house after her arrest.

Police said, following an extensive investigation, officers arrested a 50-year-old woman this afternoon.

The refugee, who asked for a Vietnamese interpreter, is charged with seven counts of contamination of goods - between September 2 to 5 - with intent to cause economic loss.

The crisis spread not only to other fruit but also over to New Zealand and Singapore.

Ms Trinh went to a pre-arranged meeting with police to provide a DNA sample two weeks ago, prior to her arrest, Mr Cridland said. If guilty, she could face up to 10 years in prison.

Residents in Australia were urged to cut up their strawberries after several consumers reported finding sewing needles in the fruit. It is alleged she told people she was going to "bring him [the farmer] down" and "put him out of business".

Farmers were forced to dump tonnes of berries, and supermarkets pulled the fruit off sale.

The prosecution told the court the woman should also be kept behind bars for her own safety.

In Queensland, where the strawberry industry is worth A$160m (£89m; $115m) a year, the local government pledged A$1m to support the state's stricken farmers.

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