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Stolen cigarettes leads to security beef-up

By Hayley Gastmeier
[email protected]
Tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of cigarette thefts has led to a Martinborough supermarket dramatically beefing up its security to avoid repeat raids on its tobacco stocks.
In the past 18 months Pain and Kershaw has been broken into three times, the most recent just last month, with $15-$20,000 worth of cigarettes stolen each time.
Managing director Conor Kershaw said a number of precautions had been taken in a bid to make the cigarettes harder to access and to deter thieves from future break-ins.
New doors with “anti-burglary glass in them” have been installed at the store entrances and a new roller door with locks was installed on Tuesday, in front of the newly put in cigarette cabinet.
“Apparently with these [cabinets], there hasn’t been one broken into all around the country, they’re so secure,” Mr Kershaw said.
“Then we’ve got new cameras, new break beams [motion detectors] and new glass-break sensors.
“So we are just really seriously beefing up our security to really make sure these things are hard to get at.”
He said cigarettes were always the target because “they’re light, they’re expensive and they can be turned into cash really quickly”.
After each of the three burglaries, on top of losing thousands of dollars of stock, the store was forced to fork out between $5-6000 to repair damage.
After the last raid Mr Kershaw considered doing away with selling cigarettes in the store, but decided it was not fair to “penalize customers that choose to smoke for the sake of a few scum bags”
He suspects all the break-ins were calculated as they all occurred at the same time of the week, on the only day the store did not receive an early morning bread delivery.
At 4am the standard response time for police was 15 minutes, he said.
The security upgrade was aimed at making stealing tobacco a lengthy process.
“We’re in the too hard basket now. At the end of the day it’s opportunist thugs that want to have a go and they are pretty ballsy – they know there are cameras and they know there are alarms, they know the risks.
“The idea now is it will be quite a long affair if they want to get to the cigarettes. The duration of time will be massive.”
Last month Kitchener’s Cafe and Dairy in Martinborough quite selling tobacco.
The store had been broken into three times in five years, with cigarettes the target each time.
Owner Sue Sullivan said the decision had been spurred on by a recent spate of burglaries in Martinborough and stories in the media of nasty attacks around the country.
She hoped the move would minimise the store’s risk of future break-ins and told the Times-Age last month that customer feedback had been mainly positive.

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