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Tighter security for community jewels

Due to a mix of ongoing theft, vandalism and rubbish dumping, several ventures in Featherston have had to resort to tighter security measures to stop precious community assets being targeted.

Featherston’s beautification group plant nursery – which is volunteer-run – has now added external lighting and a monitored surveillance camera due to a string of petty theft incidents.

Group member Julia Reed said over $300 worth of items had been stolen, including plants and ornamental decorations.

“It’s unfortunately happening regularly,” Reed said.

“They’re stealing from the community because all funds go back into beautifying Featherston and the work we do in the gardens.”

Reed noted one incident in which someone who hadn’t yet paid for plants was approached by the staff member volunteering, and they became aggressive.

“The money we generate from this nursery goes towards all our Featherston projects,” Reed said.

“A lot of what we do comes out of our own hard-earned money.”

In November last year, the Times-Age reported on several cases of plants being stolen from other public spaces in Featherston.

Joanna Baldwin, trust manager at Featherston Community Centre, said they have been dealing with multiple cases of theft over the past few months.

“We’ve had to increase security with better camera coverage of the building’s blind spots,” Baldwin said.

“Our diesel tank was robbed three times between November and December.

“All these not-for-profit groups that run on the smell of an oily rag have to pay more money for people being annoying and thoughtless.”

Baldwin said there have also been toys stolen from Featherston’s toy library.

“We’re all community-owned, and we fundraise with and have lots of volunteer work,” Baldwin said.

“People stealing from the toy library is low when its purpose is to loan toys free of charge to people who might not be able to afford them.”

New CCTV cameras have also been installed at Ā Mua Community Resource Centre due to persistent rubbish dumpers.

Centre manager Guy Walker said earlier this month that this was occurring despite two signs on the gates stating that items are not to be dumped.

“Leaving items without permission outside our opening hours wastes our time and resources and is illegal,” he said.

Walker also reported the centre has been subject to a number of recent break-ins, resulting in stolen and damaged property.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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