Van­dals hit groups hard

Kids and vol­un­teers hurt most

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Cup­boards of food were left bare as well as the Paraonui Sea Scouts’ pock­ets after a break-in to their hall.

Last week Scouts leader Lisa Clarkin ar­rived at the Baird Rd hall where the win­dow was smashed. The art cup­board had been ran­sacked, rice bub­bles were scat­tered across the kitchen floor and cans of baked beans had been ripped open with a knife.

‘‘ If they had looked in the draw­ers they would have found a can opener.’’

But the break-in came as no sur­prise to the young Scouts.

‘‘It would hap­pen ev­ery week. It’s slowed down since day­light sav­ings so it’s mostly in the win­ter,’’ Clarkin said.

What was de­signed to be a safe haven for 5 to 18-year-old youths has turned into a van­dals’ play­ground

‘‘They [Scouts] get re­ally angry . . . we used to have sleep­outs in their den but we’ll go camp­ing in­stead now.’’

The out­side of the den is cov­ered in patch- up jobs. And de­spite best ef­forts, new holes and mean­ing­less green tag­ging have taken the spot­light again.

Clarkin said it would cost about $ 3000 for a re­place­ment and paint.

Plans are in place to hold a ‘‘ work­ing bee’’ the day after Christ­mas but it is an un­nec­es­sary ex­pense, Clarkin said.

‘‘It’s the same par­ents that help and I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate it but we want to be out on the wa­ter in the sum­mer.’’

While the group is feel­ing the brunt of it all, it seemed they are not the only ones.

Toko­roa and Pu­taruru Girl Guides trea­surer Pauline Gill said their Pu­taruru hall was of­ten tar­geted.

The lat­est in­ci­dent was last month when a win­dow was smashed, wast­ing another $200, she said.

‘‘It comes out of our pock­ets . . . it’s all vol­un­teers and it takes away from the girls.’’

She said what could have been spent on ac­tiv­i­ties is used to cover the van­dal­ism. The hall has not been bur­gled but she said the tag­ging, bro­ken win­dows and even stolen fuses are all ‘‘an­noy­ing’’ to deal with.

Dur­ing one Christ­mas pe­riod the same win­dow was smashed three times.

‘‘Usu­ally the worst is when we get the Girl Guide bis­cuit de­liv­er­ies.’’

Pu­taruru’s

St

Paul’s

Co- op­er­at­ing Church suf­fered the same fate with a pitcher of wine, food and a toaster taken this month.

Pu­taruru Se­nior Sergeant Ja­son Shailer says there has been a few bur­glar­ies to non- profit or­gan­i­sa­tions and op-shops this year.

‘‘I just think if you’re that des­per­ate to rip off some­thing like that then you need to get a job.’’

Hard done by: Paraonui Sea Scouts Lloyd Ken­dall, left, Stephen and Susan Raynel are frus­trated ev­ery time their den is van­dalised.

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