Group ‘mad as hell’ af­ter equip­ment stolen

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Vi­tal equip­ment has been stolen from a Pau­ata­hanui vol­un­teer na­ture group, de­spite the group tak­ing more than ad­e­quate pre­cau­tions against bur­glary.

A shed used by For­est and Bird vol­un­teers at Pau­ata­hanui Wildlife Re­serve was bur­gled twice in June, cost­ing the group about $10,000 in stolen goods and dam­age to prop­erty.

Vol­un­teer and re­serve com- mit­tee mem­ber Wanda Tate said es­sen­tial main­te­nance was fall­ing be­hind be­cause it re­quired the equip­ment. ‘‘We’re mad as hell.’’

On June 24 bur­glars stole a com­mer­cial trac­tor-mower worth up to $7000 and two com­mer­cial scrub cut­ters worth $ 800 each.

‘‘I’m dead sure they want to sell the equip­ment. By the time we dis­cov­ered it on the Sun­day, my guess is that trac­tor was up in Wairarapa,’’ Mrs Tate said.

The bur­glars cut through steel mesh doors with bolt cut­ters to gain en­try to the shed.

The pre­vi­ous Sun­day they made their first at­tempt at a break-in, but suc­ceeded only in smash­ing pad­locks on the shed’s outer doors, ren­der­ing them use­less.

Af­ter the first break-in, For­est and Bird vol­un­teers se­cured the trac­tor to a con­crete block, but the chain was cut by bur­glars.

‘‘The po­lice said there re­ally wasn’t much else that (we) could have done,’’ Mrs Tate said.

The 4x2m shed would have to be re­built at a cost of sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars, she said. The group will claim in­surance for the dam- age but faces a $1000 ex­cess. It gets no grants or fund­ing, so is look­ing to fundraise for the cash.

In the mean­time, es­sen­tial grass mow­ing and reed trim­ming can­not be done, as cer­tain ar­eas of the re­serve can be ac­cessed only by a spe­cially nar­row trac­tor, like the one that was stolen.

Work to raise cer­tain tracks has had to cease too, and soil and gravel is ly­ing in piles ex­posed to the el­e­ments.

‘‘So we have a large area of slith­ery, mushy clay,’’ Mrs Tate said. ‘‘At the mo­ment it’s wheel­bar­row brigades.’’

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