Otago Daily Times

Thieves tar­get beau­ti­fi­ca­tion project trees

- JOHN GIBB john.gibb@odt.co.nz Dunedin · Westminster School · Otago Region · Fairfield · Grapevine

RE­TIRED Dunedin cou­ple Lynette and John Bates are shocked that thieves have twice tried to shat­ter their dream of beau­ti­fy­ing a pic­nic area at Shag Point.

In 2018, Mrs Bates told the Otago Daily Times it was ‘‘soulde­stroy­ing’’ that thieves had stolen trees which they had bought and planted at the pic­nic spot over the pre­vi­ous five years.

‘‘I feel re­ally up­set,’’ Mrs Bates said yes­ter­day, to have dis­cov­ered a se­cond round of thefts, a week ago.

‘‘We put a lot of time and ef­fort into it [the beau­ti­fi­ca­tion project],’’ she said.

Fair­field res­i­dent Re­becca Hill is is of­fer­ing a re­ward for in­for­ma­tion about the lat­est thefts.

Ms Hill, who some­times camps near the pic­nic area, has high­lighted the theft on Dunedin Grapevine, a Face­book page she founded and ad­min­is­ters.

‘‘It’s a re­ally low thing to do [to steal some­one’s prop­erty].’’

‘‘These peo­ple are spend­ing their own money to beau­tify an area for ev­ery­body to en­joy.’’

Mrs Bates said her grand­mother had had a house close to where Ham­p­den­Palmer­ston Rd (State High­way 1) passed the north­ern end of Shag Point.

Af­ter the site be­came over­grown,, she and her hus­band had spent many hours clear­ing the area and planted a row of non­na­tive shel­ter belt trees and many na­tive plants.

When she called at the spot she dis­cov­ered 17 trees, up to 180cm tall, and the stakes pro­tect­ing them, had been stolen.

It seemed ‘‘very strange’’ that a thief had struck again nearby, and the best plants had been re­moved.

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