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