A group of Foxton pensioners believe a gang of thieves are targeting their council-owned granny flats.
Residents of the six Seaview Flats in Johnston St, which are owned by the Horowhenua District Council, have had gear stolen from their sheds for the past two years.
The most recent was on February 14 when thieves stole an $800 bicycle from the shed of 65-year-old pensioner Sean Lyons.
Mr Lyons said it was the fifth burglary at the flat since he moved there three years ago.
"The bike was chained up inside," he said. "They'd broken in and taken it in the space of 20 minutes."
Old tools, a suitcase and a heater had been stolen in the previous break-ins, he said. "There is a team up here and the coppers know who they are.
"I used to leave my back door open because I used to think this was a lovely place to live."
Police had not recovered the bike, which Mr Lyon used for exercise since having triple bypass surgery on his heart. Mr Lyon said if police could not help, he would be forced to take the law into his own hands.
"If I hear something out here, I've got a big mallet and I'll do something. But that shouldn't have to happen.
"I'll lose either way because I'm going to get battered."
Another 80-year-old pensioner, who did not want to be named, said his shed had been broken into twice but nothing was taken.
"It's worrying. Pensioners haven't got all that much money to go back and replace what the burglars steal.
"We're old and they are young, so we wouldn't stand much chance against them."
May Reynish, 89, had security lights installed at the back of her Seaview flat late last year after her shed was broken into twice.
"It stopped [the break-ins] and I think it was because of the lights."
She was not scared of prowlers but said she had heard people on her front step and back porch late at night.
Foxton Police Sergeant Jeff Lyver said many burglaries went unsolved because there were no leads for police to investigate.
"The reality is we can only work with what we've got. If there is nothing forensic or no eyewitnesses that can get us started, it can be a hard road."
It was important for victims to provide police with as much information about stolen items as possible, including serial numbers and detailed descriptions, he said.
Mr Lyver did not agree that organised teams of thieves were operating in Foxton, but said there were recidivist offenders.
Horowhenua District Council Tenancy Liaison Officer Kathy Todd said security lights would be installed at the back of the flats this week. "Here at council we try and do anything we can to help."
She encouraged the tenants to keep contacting police if the burglaries continued.
- Manawatu Standard
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