Police appeal for public assistance in 1080 blackmail threat
Police appeal for public assistance in 1080 blackmail threat investigation
Police are appealing for information in relation to a threat to contaminate infant and other formula in an apparent protest over the use of 1080 poison in pest control.
Police are also appealing for the person, or group, responsible for the threat to make themselves known in order to resolve the matter.
Anonymous letters were received by Federated Farmers and Fonterra in November 2014, accompanied by small packages of milk powder which subsequently tested positive for the presence of a concentrated form of 1080.
The letters threatened to contaminate infant and other formula with 1080 unless New Zealand stopped using 1080 for pest control by the end of March 2015.
The letter writer threatened to disclose the threat publicly if the Government did not meet this demand by this time.
The matter was referred to police and a full investigation has been underway since November.
An Auckland-based investigation team - Operation Concord - involving up to 36 staff at different times, has been working closely with the industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries to identify those responsible.
"Whilst there is a possibility that this threat is a hoax, we must treat the threat seriously and a priority investigation is underway," says Deputy Commissioner (National Operations) Mike Clement.
"We therefore encourage the letter writer to come forward to Police. The letter writer may not have really considered the implications of their actions when this communication was drafted. Now is the time to put this right by picking up the phone and calling us.
"At present a large number of resources are being directed to this multi-faceted investigation which involves a number of specialist groups and support agencies.
"We are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry, and are also at the point where the public's help is being sought.
"If anyone has any information which might assist Police then we want to hear from you.
You might be aware of someone who has strong views on the 1080 issue and made threats, or has discussed how to access supplies of 1080.
"Even if you are unsure whether this information will be helpful we still want you to contact the enquiry team so they can make that assessment.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the inquiry team on 0800 723 665 or email them email@example.com
Enquiry information will also be posted on our website: www.police.govt.nz
Alternatively information can always be disclosed anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.