Roadside thefts must be curbed

Driveway ramps stolen

KAROLINE TUCKEY
Last updated 11:55 09/11/2012
Ramp
Enthusiasm curbed: Makeshift metal curb ramps in place on an Alicetown driveway after the one-piece heavy curb ramp was stolen

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Stooping to steal the metal curb ramp from a driveway is the lowest of the low, a recent victim says.

Alicetown resident Frances Lewis says she's disgusted her house was among several recently hit by thieves. She believes the plates were probably traded in as scrap metal.

"I'm gutted there's people out there that would stoop to that kind of level. It's so hard for us to get our vehicles in and out of the drive-way now."

The metal ramp was the full width of the driveway, so Ms Lewis believes the thieves would have needed two people to lift it to a nearby vehicle.

"People out there are strapped for cash, but it's not the way to live. It's just not fair."

Ms Lewis' house was targeted overnight on October 15/16, and she's since learned from friends that there were several similar thefts in Petone and Wainuiomata about the same time.

Lower Hutt police intelligence officer Maurice Partridge says thefts of metal curb ramps tend to occur in "spates".

In the week Ms Lewis' were taken another four were also reported taken from a single Waione St address. However, it is likely to be an underreported crime, Mr Partridge says.

Police believe assistance from Hutt City scrap metal dealers has helped tighten the market for stolen scrap metal but Mr Partridge won't speculate whether thieves are instead using dealers outside the area.

Hutt City Council road asset engineer Gwyn Slatter says many older homes in the city don't have curb cuts - the incline formed in the footpath when it's constructed.

In these cases homeowners should be using a council-approved metal vehicle crossing, though Mr Slatter estimates only 50 per cent are.

Council-approved metal ramps cost about $500 for residential houses, and will be replaced if stolen, he says.

They are now bolted down, after a spate of similar thefts, along with sump grate thefts, caused considerable cost to council about 18 months ago, Mr Slatter says.

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