Theft at United North Piha puts lives at risk

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Around $60,000 worth of equipment was stolen from the United North Piha gear shed overnight on Friday, including two IRB engines, two quad bikes and an RTV.

At around 11.45am the following morning the callout lifeguard squad was alerted to four people in the water, one of whom was in trouble. Club Development Officer Rob Pidgeon says becuase they didn't have their quad bike the lifeguards had to drag the IRB around 300m towards the water by hand. "What is usually a one to two minute response time was delayed close to five minutes before the boat was able to respond. Luckily for the  swimmers they didn't need to be rescued this time," he says.

The stolen IRB engines were taken off the shelves of the store room. Rob says they could have been in serious trouble if they'd lost the engines attached to the IRBs as well. 

The thieves forced entry through a side door to the gear shed where all rescue equipment is stored. While the damage can be repaired, what cannot be easily replaced is the club's vital equipment. At a cost of around $60,000 it is a huge amount of money for a voluntary organisation.

Rob says "this hasn't been a theft from our club but a theft from our community which may cause someone to drown at our beach. We are urging anyone who has information about this theft to contact Police immediately. The size and scale of this theft cannot be ignored, it would take several vehicles to move this amount of equipment," he says,

All this took place on the eve of the club's prize giving night.

To read the full story visit the New Zealand Herald website.