Raid on tots’ toy shed

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Janie Smith

THERE was heart­break at sto­ry­time at the St Barn­abas Church play­group when chil­dren and par­ents were told some of their favourite toys had been stolen.

Vol­un­teers ar­rived at the Mt Eden church at 7.30am on Tues­day to dis­cover cal­lous thieves had bro­ken into the play­group’s stor­age shed and stolen many toys.

They in­clude a tri­cy­cle that runs on a track, a large dol­phin swing that hangs in­side, a rock­ing horse and two plas­tic con­tain­ers filled with toy trucks.

Play­group con­vener Mau­reen McNickle says she felt “re­ally stressed” to dis­cover the theft.

“We’re looking at about $800 to $900 to re­place them. We’re a vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion that runs a com­mu­nity play­group.

“The toys that have been stolen are very pop­u­lar.”

The thieves cut through part of the metal set­ting hold­ing the shed’s pad­lock in place and a sec­ond shed on the prop­erty used by a Korean church was also bro­ken into, and had items taken.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing to us as a vol­un­teer group to think that thieves are tar­get­ing com­mu­nity out­reach pro­grammes,” says Mrs McNickle.

Prue Cato-Sy­monds, whose two-year-old Alice at­tends the play­group, says the theft is shock­ing.

“They work hard to raise money and try re­ally hard to pro­vide th­ese ser­vices.”

The old­est of the six vol­un­teers run­ning the group is 90 and Mrs McNickle says it’s a lot of ef­fort for them to set up for the group ev­ery week.

The Tues­day play­group is at­tended by be­tween 40 to 50 chil­dren each week and 30 to 40 par­ents and care­givers.

The pro­gramme is partly funded by the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry and Mrs McNickle is not sure whether in­sur­ance will cover the cost of re­plac­ing the toys.

If any­one has spare toys for chil­dren aged from three to five years old they would like to do­nate to the play­group, con­tact Mrs McNickle on 630-3387.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Empty shed: St Barn­abas Church play­group con­vener Mau­reen McNickle with play­group mem­ber Alice Cato-Sy­monds, 2, in the group’s stor­age shed that was bro­ken into be­fore the toys were taken.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Car con­fu­sion: A car fol­lows an am­bu­lance on to Grafton Bridge even though it’s a des­ig­nated bus lane dur­ing busi­ness hours.

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