January 27, 2021

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Two men charged after 45 bonsai plants ‘stolen and sold to buy drugs’

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<p>Two men have been arrested after allegedly stealing 45 bonsai plants from yards in Sydney's south-west and selling them online to purchase illegal drugs.</p>

Two men have been arrested after allegedly stealing 45 bonsai plants from yards in Sydney's south-west and selling them online to purchase illegal drugs.

Police commenced an investigation after a "spike in bonsai plants and large pot plants" being stolen from homes around Fairfield over the last few weeks.

Police attended a home on Prospect Road, Canley Vale, about 2.50pm last Friday, and seized 45 bonsai plants from the backyard.

The bonsai have an estimated value of between $30,000 and $40,000.

"Conservatively, it could be between $30,000 to $40,000 but I'm lead to believe there are plants that are worth up to $4000 and have possibly been alive for more than 30 years," Acting Inspector Luke Scott said.

A 44-year-old man was arrested and taken to Fairfield Police Station, where he was charged with theft and recklessly dealing with proceeds of crime.

A second man, aged 37, was also charged for stealing a bonsai plant a week earlier.

The 37-year-old is alleged to have stolen a bonsai plant from the front yard of a private home, put it in the front basket of a push bike and ridden away with it.

"Its an opportunistic crime for that person who obviously has no regard for the property and feelings of the people who have tended to that plant," Acting Inspector Scott said.

"Some of these plants are in people's lives for longer than their pets are."

Police said the plants are being sold on Gumtree and being used as a commodity to buy prohibited drugs.

The man has been granted strict conditional bail to appear before the courts in January.

Police are now trying to match the recovered plants with their rightful owners.

"It's important for us to return these plants because they are plants that are grown over decades. It's taken a lot of work and a lot of effort for people to tend to these plants and to maintain them and we'd like to return them," Acting Inspector Scott said.

Police said they haven't been able to "reunite" any of the stolen plants with their rightful owners yet.

Police said anyone wishing to claim a stolen bonsai should have evidence of their ownership.

Anyone who has had bonsai stolen is urged to contact Fairfield City Police Area Command on (02) 9725 8999.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/man-steals-45-bonsai-plants-from-neighbours-yards-sydney-south-west-police/7931fc18-aed9-449d-a51b-2b6140ed6ba7

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