Gutted: Cliff Verdich is asking for help from the public to identify thieves who stole $50,000 worth of oysters.
Gutted: Cliff Verdich is asking for help from the public to identify thieves who stole $50,000 worth of oysters. Crystal Spencer

$50k worth of oysters stolen

AN estimated $50,000 worth of oysters destined for Tweed Christmas lunches has been stolen.

MS Verdich and Sons owner Cliff Verdich returned from visiting his sick mother to find a large quantity of oysters had been stolen from his leases in the Terranora Broadwater.

“I just went out there to check them and all the trays were empty,” Mr Verdich said.

“I wasn’t happy to say the least.

“Fifty-thousand-dollars is pretty much my wages for the year; it’s a fair bit to lose.”

Mr Verdich, of Elanora, had put the oysters in the trays just six weeks ago, with plans to harvest them for Christmas. The oysters had a potential retail value of $50,000.

“I’ve been growing oysters for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything this big,” Mr Verdich said.

“It’s not really something you can insure. I have to spend another $20,000 to replace them.

“The stock will be replaced for Christmas but it’s going to be money out of my pocket.”

Mr Verdich said the crime was likened to cattle theft.

“Unfortunately it tends to lean towards another oyster farm,” he said.

“I have people take oysters home all the time but not on this scale.”

Mr Verdich and Tweed detectives were yesterday seeking for public assistance to locate the offenders.

“Because of the scale of it they would have done it over two or three nights at least,” Mr Verdich said.

Detective Adam Cartenter said the stock was believed to be stolen sometime between April 4 and 26 this year.

“Because of the quantity that was taken and the area, the possibility is that they’ve used a small boat and worked with a car on shore,” Det Cartenter said.

“And then loaded them onto a truck and have taken them away.

“It’s one of those industries; it’s hard to police unless you have someone there 24-hours a day.

“We’re calling for public help and working closely with fisheries as well to try and locate some persons responsible.”

Anyone who saw boats or vehicles in the area during the two-week period, or witnessed any suspicious activity, is urged to contact Tweed Heads Police Station via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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