Otago Daily Times

Thieves target beautifica­tion project trees

- JOHN GIBB john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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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