20 Jun 2009

Gun theft rattles Martinborough residents

8:46 pm on 20 June 2009

Residents of Martinborough are calling for police to beef up their presence in the Wairarapa town following a spate of burglaries in which guns have been stolen.

David Harris says thieves who burgled his house on Wednesday night made off with guns and ammunition. He knows of five other people burgled on the same night.

Mr Harris, a shepherd, said the local police are doing their best with limited resources, but fears the burglaries could escalate into something more serious.

"It's more than a possibility, it's a probability, because you've got people frightened for their safety ... I know one 80-year-old who sleeps with a loaded rifle."

The town was hit by a spate of burglaries earlier this year, prompting the formation of an unofficial night-time community patrol, which has since been disbanded.

Resident George Sanderson says he has been patrolling the streets himself following the burglaries.

Mr Sanderson says the lone constable in town does an excellent job, but he cannot be on duty round the clock. He says if police don't solve the problem someone else will, and he fears someone will get hurt.