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Trap set in playground injures child

Martinborough Square, near the vandalised playground. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

In an act described by police as “spiteful”, a child recently suffered a cut foot after soft drink bottles were cut up and the broken pieces buried in the bark of a popular Wairarapa playground.

The suspected deliberate vandalism in the Martinborough playground was not reported to police, who have appealed to the public to let them know about all suspicious incidents.

Police were not formally told about the incident at the playground outside the Waihinga Centre in the middle of town, although it was discussed on social media.

Wairarapa Police prevention manager, Senior Sergeant Ian Osland, said it was important to report suspicious activity through formal channels.

“We can’t act if we aren’t told. We need first-hand reports from affected people,” he said.

“We want to hear about everything.”

“This enables us not only to take direct action, but to make deployment decisions and get victim support involved where necessary.”

Osland said the seemingly pre-planned act appeared to have been calculated to do harm.

Several soft drink bottles had been cut in half, leaving the sharp edges hidden in the bark on the ground in the area where the children played. The way the sharp edges were left exposed seemed to be a trap for the playground users.

Social media had reported broken glass around the playground resulting in at least one child getting a cut foot.

“As far as we are aware, it has not happened again,” Osland said.

He stressed that while the reports were hearsay, they were concerning.

“The only intent is to cause harm,” he said.

“If things are happening, we need to be told about it.”

“What appears on social media isn’t always picked up by police. We need people affected by criminal activity to report it to us.”

A community policing presence and other resources across the region could be re-deployed if risks were directly reported.

“Martinborough has a robust community patrol. If we have accurate information, that will help them support the community,” Osland said.

Martinborough is considered a low crime area. There were 19 incidents in the town reported to police in the past month.

Of the 19, there was one assault, two burglaries, four related to the renewal of liquor licences, and five related to lost or found property.

The rest included traffic violations and domestic violence incidents.

Of the burglaries, one involved a temporarily unoccupied house where electronic items were taken, and the second involved some tyres being taken from an outdoor storage container.

Osland strongly recommended people at imminent risk to ring 111.

Less immediate matters could be reported by ringing 105 or through the police website.

Crimestoppers is an option for people who want to report general criminal activity but prefer to remain anonymous.

“Crimestoppers can be for all sorts of things, including poaching, unlawful hunting, stock theft and a variety of other crimes,” Osland said, saying police would refer matters to other government agencies where necessary.

  • Crimestoppers can be reached on 0800 555 111.

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