Stealing Plants from Gardens in NSW

Sahar Adatia.


A woman from Campbelltown in Sydney’s south-west has made a desperate plea for the return of a pot plant that housed her mother’s ashes after learning callous thieves stole the shrub from her garden.

Ercilia, along with her family, are presently devastated by the theft of the plant, which they noticed went missing at the beginning of July.

The plant was particularly significant to Ercilia given as it was a gift from her mother when she first moved to the country.

Ercilia and her family moved to Australia back in 2013.

Sadly, three years ago, her mother passed away.

In the aftermath of her passing, the family decided they would treasure the mother’s memory through the beauty of the pot plant and placed her cremated remains inside it.

Over the years, the plant became increasingly special and carried even more meaning to Ercilia and the Campbelltown family.


“Could I Please Have Her Back?”: Cardboard Sign Left at Front Door of Home Requesting Stolen Plant Back

A mother herself, Ercilia has since created a cardboard sign and hung it up outside her front door reading the message, “In the plant you stole are my mother’s remains. Could I please have her back?”

A heartbroken Ercilia spoke of her devastation, urging she did not care to even know the details of what exactly happened to her pot plant, but rather just wished for the shrub to be returned.

“I don’t want to know who it was, I don’t want to know anything,” Ercilia said of the theft.

“If the plant is just returned where it was, that’s all we care about.”

The sign was spotted by another local mother, Jaimie-Lee Sutton, who noticed the cardboard note outside the Campbelltown home as she drove past it on the way to pick up her son from school.

Ms Sutton stopped to take a photo and shared it online to the Macarthur Notice Board group, hoping to garner community support for the cause.

The 32-year-old mother of three expressed the sign had immediately brought tears to her eyes and she wanted to do all she could to help reunite the beloved plant with its owner.

“I know what it’s like to lose a loved one, especially a parent as I’ve lost my dad, so I could only imagine what it would be like losing their remains,” Ms Sutton said.

“It broke my heart. Let’s all try get the plant back to where it belongs.”

Ms Sutton also said while she said feels safe in her community, the theft certainly caused her faith in humanity to waver.

“Very disappointed in humanity right now as it seems that you can’t even display a plant out the front without the risk of it being stolen,” Ms Sutton stated.

Meanwhile, as news of the incident spread across the community, it rapidly sparked outrage from hundreds of members who have condemned the “disrespectful” thieves.

“How low and desperate do you have to be to steal a plant from someone’s garden?” one person from the community wrote.

The sentiment was echoed as others expressed, “What a disgusting thing to do,” and “If you have any morals you would return the plant”.

One Facebook user uttered that she “felt sick” reading the sign, while others begged for the person responsible to return the plant.

Stealing Plants from Gardens in NSW

It may come as a surprise to learn, but in NSW it is against the law to steal plants from another person’s garden.

The law on this offence is set out in section 520 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Section 520 makes clear that if you steal, or destroy, or damage with intent to steal, any plant, root, fruit, or vegetable produce, growing in any garden, orchard, pleasure-ground, nursery-ground, hothouse, greenhouse, or conservatory, you can face a maximum penalty of up to 6-months in imprisonment or a fine of $550, or both.

The offence is dealt with in the Local Court and may carry a criminal conviction, unless a section 10 sentence is enforced.

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