Jeweller looted in quake aftermath

3:32 pm on 20 May 2011

Police have confirmed looters burgled a jeweller's shop as well as a hotel after the Christchurch earthquake.

Canterbury area commander, Inspector Derek Erasmus, says there was a significant burglary at a Colombo street jewellers immediately after the quake on 22 February when police and Defence Force staff were focused on the rescue effort.

Mr Erasmus says given the number of jewellers, banks and other businesses left open and unguarded, the proportion of burglaries is extremely low.

He says other break-ins have been reported inside the red zone.

However, given that every building in the city centre was entered by search and rescue staff, it is difficult to tell whether the entry was illegal unless property is missing.

The owner of Hotel Off The Square said on Thursday that he discovered most of the guest rooms had been looted when he was finally allowed to enter the cordoned-off site last week.