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Copper thefts leave sour taste

Hatuma Lime Company, Mauriceville. PHOTO/FILE

Security increased

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
[email protected]

A string of burglaries throughout the Mauriceville area, the most recent which occurred over the Easter break, have left residents angry and frustrated.

Dispatch manager Reuben Barre is normally the first person on site at the Hatuma Lime Company, about 20 minutes’ drive north of Masterton.

He realised something was wrong when he returned from the four-day Easter break on last Tuesday morning and found a towel left on the ground “sopping wet” around 6.30am.

After investigating, he found that the hot water cylinder and several copper pipes across the site had been stolen, including those attached to a 104-year-old compressor.

“Our biggest worry at the moment is the compressor. It’s not something a mechanic can fix easily [because of its age].”

The thief would have walked past thousands of dollars’ worth of other equipment, but it was only the copper pipes they seemed interested in, he said.

“It was all copper that they took.”

It’s one of about five burglaries in the area this month, after the Clarke Memorial Domain was broken into and the toilet’s copper units stolen two weeks ago.

Barre said he’d also heard of two burglaries at neighboring properties where copper pot plants had been stolen.

Mauriceville, which has a population of a few hundred, was too small for this kind of behaviour, he said, and Barre was sure someone would know who was responsible.

“I live locally, and I have quite a bit to do with the community, including the school and Clarke Memorial Domain,” he said.

“I don’t want these mongrels in my backyard. It’s too small a community for it.”

The Hatuma Lime Company said they had increased security measures on site as a result.

Police had been made aware and were investigating.

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