Theft of thousands of dollars of fruit angers growers

Red, ripe, juicy - and gone.

Thieves have made away with tens of thousands of dollars of fruit over the past couple of months, and now growers are speaking out in the hopes of preventing further thefts.

"It was almost like somebody came in, waved a wand, and it all disappeared," said Diane Ward.

More than 800kg of plums disappeared from Ward's Levin orchard earlier this week.

The overnight raid took place just a day before the fruit was due to be harvested.

"It was just really surreal, and the whole feeling was odd because there was nothing on the ground either," she said.

The plums were worth $2500 and were destined for the local New World where they've gone for years.

"It was like, woah, my husband's been working really hard here to do the work and no return. It's strange."

Those behind the heist left no tyre marks or trace of who they might be. 

But Ward says it was a sophisticated operation. They knew what they were after.

At this time of year, the trees should be bulging with fruit. Instead, they're bare. Many others have gone on Facebook to share their stories of stolen fruit. Despite this, police say there's been no increase in reports of fruit theft.

This summer those in Hawke's Bay and Horowhenua have also lost avocados, watermelons, asparagus and berries.

Just down the road, 40 kilograms of strawberries were stolen from Swanson Gardens before Christmas - worth as much as $8000.

"It's silly people, doing stupid things, you know? And just hope in heck it doesn't happen to anyone else," said Paul Swanson.

Police say the lack of evidence means they aren't following any current leads.

But Ward is urging other small growers to be vigilant and report any thefts.