25 Feb 2015

French fruit smuggler convicted

2:37 pm on 25 February 2015

The Ministry for Primary Industries hopes the conviction of a French woman who tried to smuggle fruit and meat into the country by yacht sends a stern message to other boaties.

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Photo: AFP

Sylvie Berthe Barre was fined $3000 in the Kaikohe District Court last week after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of possessing unauthorised goods and misleading an official.

In November last year, she and her husband were stopped at Opua and told officials they had no plant or meat products to declare.

On board they found a bunch of bananas, limes, packets of ham, venison and six jars of meat pâté stuffed inside drawers and hidden behind cupboards.

The 61-year-old is the first person to be convicted for concealing biosecurity goods since the ministry ramped up its security after two Queensland fruit fly scares in Whangarei last year.