Wedding presents stolen while newlyweds slept
It was meant to be the happiest weekend of their lives. But as Judith and Ian Spencer left their wedding celebrations, callous thieves left a sour end to the couple's day.
After 14 years together the Matamata couple decided to take the plunge and marry at their favourite holiday spot at Te Puru on the coast of Thames.
They invited 150 guests from the local community where the couple own a holiday home and said their "I dos" beneath an overarching pohutukawa tree at the holiday park.
This was the first marriage for 60-year-old Judith who met 63-year-old Ian at her best friend's engagement party. "I got to 60 and thought I should try it once in my life," Judith joked.
"It was absolutely unbelievably awesome, we had a community wedding – all the people at the camp were involved – one did the cake, one did the dress, one did the decorating."
But on Sunday as guests filed in to the hall to help clean up the aftermath, the couple's weekend was shattered.
"We locked the hall up at midnight and went over to clean up the next day and everything was gone."
During the night, thieves snuck in and stole the couple's wedding gifts, along with about 30-40 cards full of cash from inside a wishing well. The windows and kitchen door of the hall were found open.
Judith said the chiller door was open but the culprits left the booze and cake, taking only items easy to carry.
She was the last one to lock the doors around midnight but failed to check the windows.
"Apparently the windows were open but earlier in the night one of the guests was outside and all of the windows were shut.
"It's our own fault we didn't check the windows."
The couple chose the Te Puru Holiday Park as it offered plenty of accommodation and rental baches within walking distance to ensure guests would not drink and drive.
"We were trying to do the right thing but it didn't work like that."
With no CCTV operating, the newlyweds were at a loss to explain who it may have been. Most upsetting was the fact they could not send personalised thank you cards for the gifts.
"It doesn't matter except for the fact we can't thank people for the gifts – that's the thing that makes me sad."
That same night the Imperial Hotel in Thames was burgled of a cash till.
The couple had made a report to police and were waiting to hear back.