The offender faces up to 10 years in prison.
Australian police arrested a teenager who admitted that he planted the needles in the strawberries. Berries with metal needles, sold in local stores, provoked panic across the country.
Assistant Commissioner of police of the state of New South Wales Stewart Smith said that the arrested guy was most likely put a needle in strawberries for fun.
“We found a young man who confessed to several pranks, including that I put the needles in the strawberries; they will be engaged in service work with youth,” said Smith.
The first needle in strawberries found in Queensland. Subsequently, the berries with needles began to fall and residents of other States. Buyers also reported a sharp metal objects in bananas and apples.
The exact number of victims of the needles in the strawberry is still unknown, authorities have reported at least a hundred complaints. These cases are quickly triggered panic among buyers, and among fruit producers.
The Queensland government reported that some trading partners from Russia and the UK has blocked the import of strawberries from Australia and neighboring New Zealand has announced that it plans to withdraw all Australian strawberries from their supermarkets.
Reported that some manufacturers were forced to destroy the entire crop of berries after the news of the needles.
The Australian government urgently introduce additional measures to control the export of strawberries: now exporters, in particular, shall permit all goods through metal detectors.
Many Australian politicians and users of social networks actively defended the fruit industry of the country. They call on shoppers to support farmers and not to refuse to buy fruit, but be sure to cut them in half before you eat.
The action with the hashtag #SmashAStrawb also joined the Premier of Western Australia mark McGowan.
“Residents of Western Australia support the national industry. Cut it (strawberries) in half and eat to help our farmers,” – he wrote in his Twitter.
The Internet also has hundreds of recipes for jams, pies and other dishes of strawberries. “Cut it (the strawberry), but do not abandon it,” – writes in his accounts, the national party of Australia.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said that the authorities want to toughen the punishment for damaging fruit. Now the maximum prison sentence for this offence is 10 years, but now it is proposed to increase to 15 years.
The new measures, which the Parliament will consider this week, also directed against those who are satisfied with the jokes and pranks that threaten the life and health of people.
“It’s not a joke it’s not funny. You are endangering the lives of hard-working Australians, you’re scaring the children. You’re a coward and a miserable worm, and if you do things in this country, we’re coming for you,” said Morrison, referring to the perpetrators of such crimes.
Earlier, three Australian state has announced a reward of 100 thousand Australian dollars (71 700 US dollars) for information which may help in the investigation of this crime.
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