Couple’s plants and faith in humanity restored

Diane Rapley waters one of her trees which had been stolen earlier this month. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Diane Rapley waters one of her trees which had been stolen earlier this month. Photo: Peter McIntosh
A Brighton couple who were the victims of a brazen theft say their faith in humanity has been restored.

One morning earlier this month, Kim and Diane Rapley woke to find more than 100 native plants and trees had been stolen from their Taieri Mouth Rd property overnight.

But yesterday, all  the plants had been returned.

After their plight was publicised  in the Otago Daily Times, the couple received numerous tips about the possible whereabouts of their plants.

"Someone else had their plants flogged down by Taieri Mouth, so I put two and two together. Then we got told about someone who had been doing a lot of native planting  recently so we went down and had a look," Mr Rapley said.

Along with police officers, Mr Rapley visited the property in Taieri Mouth and immediately recognised the plants.

If police had not executed a search warrant on Wednesday and recovered about 60 of them, he was prepared to get them back himself, he said.

The man who had the plants said they had been been given to him by a relative who had taken them from someone who owed him money.

The remaining 50 or so plants were returned yesterday.

"The ones we got back on Wednesday have already been replanted and the others are soaking in water at the moment, so we’re happy."

As well as tips about where the plants had gone, the couple had also been offered replacements by people who had read about their situation.

"It was the actions of those good people who gave us back our faith in humanity a wee bit."

Senior Constable Fred Jansen, of Green Island, confirmed all  the plants had been recovered and, after discussions with the Rapleys, no charges would be laid.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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