Aussie student had hot cache

JOHN EDENS IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 24/08/2013

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An Australian secondary school student was arrested after police recovered an "Aladdin's cave" of goods from an alleged $1300 shoplifting spree around Queenstown.

An 18-year-old who attends Dickson College in Canberra was arrested on Thursday and faces at least six charges of theft.

He was part of a school winter sporting trip with 18 pupils and three teachers to Queenstown and the Southern Lakes.

Senior Constable Chris Blackford, of Queenstown, yesterday said a shop assistant spotted the teenager allegedly stealing a rugby jersey from a store.

Mr Blackford said the shop assistant followed the student and called police, who discovered what was described as an "Aladdin's cave" of stolen items including clothes, jewellery, greenstone and ski goggles.

The other pupils and teachers returned to Australia on Friday but one teacher stayed behind with the remaining student.

In a statement, Dickson College network leader Steve Kyburz confirmed the incident involving one of the students.

"This matter is being investigated by New Zealand police and is subject to court proceedings.

"It would therefore be inappropriate for the college to comment further at this time on the details of the incident.

"The school is supporting the student involved in this matter."

Constable Phill Hamlin, of Queenstown, told The Southland Times most of the stolen items were returned to stores and included six All Black rugby jerseys and Maori All Black jerseys, hoodies, a silver bracelet, greenstone earrings, greenstone pendants, ski goggles and sunglasses.

The student is expected to appear in the Queenstown District Court on Monday.

In 2011, Dickson College was saved from the brink of closure after it was identified as one of the least viable schools in the Australian Capital Territory.

Reductions in enrolments prompted a government shake-up but the school survived after a concerted public campaign.

It is not the first time an Australian school trip to Queenstown has ended in a shoplifting scandal.

In July 2010, 16 pupils from Melbourne's exclusive Jesuit Xavier College were suspended after they spent hours trawling Queenstown shops stealing ski gear, rugby jerseys and sportswear.

The stolen goods were worth $6000.

The school expelled four students after an investigation.

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