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Retailers urged to report fly-by-night traders

12 December 2011

Strawberry fields not forever in Whitianga

An Auckland organisation sending backpackers with no work permits to sell punnets of strawberries around the country has been sent packing from Whitianga.

The organiser of the illegal scheme provides backpackers with rental vehicles and cases of fresh strawberries in Auckland and sends them to small towns to sell the produce from door-to-door.

Our bylaws team evicted a group of backpackers from Albert Street in Whitianga and served them with notice that we would seize their produce and vehicles if they returned.

We have been unable to discover the identity of the organiser because the main seller (from the UK) was sworn not to pass on the man's details. However, we are now working with the Immigration department to locate him.

Two years ago, a similar scheme operating in Whitianga resulted in four illegal Mexican overstayers being handed over to the police.

We are doing our best to protect our local retailers from out of town "fly by nighters" but ask that retailers contact us as soon as they see anything similar so we can deal with the problem.