In­ter­lop­ers com­pro­mise cas­tle, trust says

Otago Daily Times - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA PERRY emma.perry@odt.co.nz

TRES­PASSERS be­ware — if you take an unau­tho­rised trip to a Dunedin cas­tle, you may find your­self be­com­ing one of Cargill’s Most Wanted.

Fed up with un­wanted visi­tors, the Cargill’s Cas­tle Trust is tak­ing mea­sures to keep mem­bers of the pub­lic off the St Clair prop­erty.

It hoped the in­tro­duc­tion of so­cial me­dia posts ti­tled ‘‘Cargill’s Most Wanted’’, with se­cu­rity cam­era im­ages of the un­wanted guests at the cas­tle at­tached to help iden­tify them, would de­ter tres­passers from the her­itage land­mark.

A trust spokes­woman said five to six groups of peo­ple, many be­lieved to be stu­dents, were en­ter­ing the premises each week.

‘‘It’s ab­so­lutely as­tound­ing how many are com­ing up each week.’’

While most were vis­it­ing to sat­isfy their cu­rios­ity, reg­u­lar vis­its were hin­der­ing ef­forts to re­open the cas­tle.

‘‘Con­stant visi­tors, some of which are de­struc­tive, means we need to fun­nel money we raised into mak­ing the site se­cure and not into the sta­bil­i­sa­tion project.

‘‘It is also sur­rounded by neigh­bours and peo­ple are en­ter­ing their pri­vate prop­erty to gain ac­cess.’’

Reg­u­lar tag­ging of the cas­tle and the light­ing of fires was caus­ing fur­ther prob­lems for the trust.

‘‘Our most re­cent in­ci­dent of van­dal­ism was a week or two ago, which will be re­ported to the po­lice.’’

Se­cu­rity cam­eras in­stalled on the prop­erty in Septem­ber last year were cap­tur­ing the faces of groups, but with­out know­ing who the peo­ple in the im­ages were it was hard to do any­thing.

Tres­pass no­tices had to be handed over phys­i­cally, which the trust could not do.

‘‘We’ve got signs, gates, fences with barbed wire and cam­eras, yet they still come.

‘‘We’ve got to de­ter peo­ple, and if ask­ing the pub­lic to iden­tify them on Face­book is the ac­tion we have to take, we will do that.’’

Five peo­ple had been iden­ti­fied from the first post.

‘‘All we’re ask­ing is that peo­ple do not visit the site. It’s pri­vate prop­erty, it’s very dan­ger­ous, and we’re work­ing to get it open so peo­ple don’t have to break the law to have a look around.’’

The trust was hop­ing to re­open Cargill’s Cas­tle to the pub­lic next year, and was work­ing on get­ting the struc­ture sta­bilised and safe for en­try.

‘‘Ev­ery vis­i­tor pushes us back in our plans to open the place up.’’

Do not pass . . . Signs out­side Cargill’s Cas­tle warn visi­tors against en­ter­ing. Se­cu­rity footage cap­tured by the Cargill’s Cas­tle Trust is be­ing shared on so­cial me­dia in hopes of iden­ti­fy­ing tres­passers.

PHO­TOS: GER­ARD O’BRIEN & SUP­PLIED

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