Meeting to address spate of dairy robberies
City councillors and police officers will meet with Nelson dairy owners next week to reassure them they are not alone.
Following a spate of dairy robberies across the region, Deputy Mayor Paul Matheson said the council was putting its hand up to offer its help.
‘‘We don’t want [dairy owners] to feel isolated,’’ Matheson said.
‘‘We want to be able to let them know there is huge community support for anything we can do.’’
He said the meeting next Friday would get police, councillors, council staff and dairy owners from Nelson and Tasman in the same room to talk about what could be done.
‘‘We believe there are no boundaries on this issue . . . [we want to sit down] and talk about the issue and whether we can all collectively offer them more support than what they’re getting now.’’
He said the recent robberies had been ‘‘terrifying’’ for people and were an attack on an important part of the community.
‘‘[The local dairy] holds a special place ... you send your kids down there to get a loaf of bread or a bottle of milk . . . to have this sort of thing happen is a bit of abuse on some of the values you hold.’’
Matheson said next week’s meeting would offer not only mental support, but would look at what practical things could make dairy owners feel safer.
Victory Discounter Dairy manager Darshini Chauhan said they’d had a lot of community support since they were targeted last Sunday night.
Flowers, chocolate, and cards had all been gifted in a show of sympathy and support from locals.
But she said they were still feeling the effects from the robbery.
‘‘[Locals] are scared sending their kids here just to buy a bag of lollies [because] you know, you never know who will do what.’’
She said she didn’t want to feel suspicious of customers, but it was difficult because those thought to have committed the robbery had been regular customers.
Police have arrested and charged three people related to the aggravated robbery, which happened shortly before 9pm on July 16. Police have also made a number of arrests in other recent dairy robberies in Nelson.
Chauhan said she would be happy to go along to next week’s meeting to connect with other dairy managers and owners and hear any advice on offer.
Nelson Bays Acting Area Commander Senior Sergeant Blair Hall said the meeting was intended to help dairy owners build a support network.
‘‘We can offer them advice, but it’s more about getting them together . . . talking and supporting each other. We will be there to facilitate that and offer advice. But we don’t want it to be completely about police,’’ Hall said.