Young boy arrested for spiking strawberries in Australia with needles

New South Wales (NSW) police said it had arrested the young boy over behaviour which “could be a prank”.“Obviously in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries,” acting assistant commissioner Stuart Smith said, according to a Seven News report.

He said the boy would ”be dealt with under the youth cautioning system”.

The penalty for deliberately contaminating a food source in NSW is 10 years in jail, but Australia’s prime minister has said the government plans to increase the maximum jail term to 15 years.

“It’s not funny, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk,” Scott Morrison said. “If you do that sort of thing in this country we will come after you and we will throw the book at you.”

Police are investigating more than 100 reports of needles found in fruit.

They were first found in strawberries produced by one supplier in the northern state of Queensland, but are now turning up around the country.

On Tuesday, police in NSW said they were investigating incidents involving an apple and a banana.

Nobody has sustained a serious injury yet, but strawberry farmers have been forced to dump produce as demand plunges.