Northern Territory police charge 44-year-old man with alleged theft of bonsai trees from nursery

A 44-year-old man has been charged with stealing valuable plants from a nursery in rural Darwin.

Police found the plants, including a number of bonsai trees, in a Humpty Doo on Thursday.

They are alleged to have been stolen from a business in Lambells Lagoon early on Saturday morning.

The man received a notice to appear in court for theft and trespassing.

According to police, the offense of theft in the Northern Territory carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

Worried about losing valuable plants? To shut up

In a separate and unrelated incident, Allora Gardens nursery owner Estelle Cornell said she had $30,000 worth of bonsai stolen from her Berrimah property in 2019, and also had raised his precious deer horns.

“It broke my heart. They [the thieves] were very smart. They know what they’re doing,” she said.

“Any very unusual or rare plant, you don’t tell anyone about it,” she said.

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“I often have customers in the store who say to me, ‘I have all these orchids’ or ‘I have this particular bonsai.

“I say, ‘Please don’t tell everyone about it. Because they’re getting robbed.'”

Ms Cornell said she now has a way to track her plants.

Plants at “incredible” prices

Ms Cornell advises people to keep rare plants and flowers out of sight.

“Don’t hang your most prized orchid in your front yard,” she said.

“Keep it in really special places and don’t announce to the world that you have them because it’s amazing the prices some plants are fetching right now,” she said.

Ms Cornell said she had seen plants such as variegated elephant ear (Macrorrhiza Variegata) on sale for $1,500.

Some plants with their tops cut off in a public garden bed.
Some plants in the Garramilla Blvd landscaping in Darwin were cut in 2020.(Supplied: DIPL)

Not just fancy plants

A rim with places where plants once grew.
A strip of suburban Darwin wilderness stripped of desert roses.(Provided: Rachel)

In other unrelated incidents, plants along Darwin’s new Garramilla Boulevard causeway were cut in January 2020 shortly after landscaping was completed, and Rachel from suburban Darwin was relieved of the desert roses planted on its natural strip in 2019.

“I was definitely shocked and disappointed when it happened,” she said.

“Since then, I have gladly replaced them with pretty thorny bougainvilleas.”

In 2018, an endangered blue African cycad was stolen from the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.

Former curator-manager Dale Dixon has stepped up security.

“My team and I are devastated and fear the thief will strike again,” Dr Dale said at the time.


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