Alleged sprinkler party stunt could have six-figure cost

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 12:20 14/02/2014
Southland Times photo
JOHN EDENS/Fairfax NZ

Cup & Cake owner Jaimie Stodler in her flooded store in Queenstown.

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A ''swinging'' leaving do has left some businesses in Queenstown flooded and owners facing a six-figure repair bill.

Businesses off Searle Lane were flooded about 4.15am when a sprinkler system in Nomads backpackers was broken, flooding the budget hostel, Devil Burger, Cup & Cake, Below Zero Ice Bar and Cowboys bar.

Staff were busy cleaning up this morning on Valentine's Day, one of the busiest retail days of the year in Queenstown, waiting for electricians, carpet cleaners and insurance assessors.

Senior constable Chris Blackford, of Queenstown, said a 25-year-old man and 23-year-old woman, both British, were arrested and charged with wilful damage.

They arrived back at Nomads, where they paid a discounted rate in exchange for cleaning, about 4am after their last night out in Queenstown before a scheduled flight to Australia today.

''They started to dance on tables and whilst on the tables it's alleged they swung off the sprinkler system pipe, which broke.''

The pipe was pulled down and water started gushing out, flooding the first floor, ground level and neighbouring downstairs properties causing significant damage, he said.

''The potential for a six-figure sum is not unrealistic.''

Cup & Cake owner Jaimie Stodler said she arrived at 5am to find the entire shop floor flooded, the ceilings pouring with water and electricity out.

Valentine's Day was the gourmet sweet store's busiest retail day and the revenue was roughly enough to cover a couple of month's rent, she said.

Cup & Cake was unlikely to open today, she said.

''They think I might have to replace the ceilings. It's really really bad, it's really stupid. It's just f***ing stupid.''

Police imposed bail conditions on the English couple that included surrendering their passports so they must remain here until appearing in Queenstown District Court.

A Fire Service spokesman said volunteers shut off the sprinkler system.

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- The Southland Times

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