Thieves target whitebait huts

Whitebait huts have been baiting more than fish after a spate of break-ins along the Aparima River.

Senior Constable Kelvin Templeton, of Riverton, said police were investigating a series of break-ins into whitebaiting huts near Riverton over the past week.

So far four complaints had been received by police and more were expected as owners discovered their huts had been broken into, Mr Templeton said.

It was hard to quantify what exactly had been taken from each hut but it was normally items that could be sold for scrap, he said.

"It happens every year."

"One year we had a pot belly stove taken . . . generally though there's not a lot of valuable items left [in huts during the off season]," he said.

Historically, police would get reports of break-ins at the start of the whitebait season, which runs from August to November, but for some reason they were getting early reports this year, he said.

"People are really on to it at the moment."

To deter would-be thieves, people could either remove everything from the hut and leave the door wide open, or make the hut as secure as possible to make it difficult to enter, he said.

"We just rely on people in the community to keep an eye out and report anything suspicious."

Police would like to hear from any owners of whitebait huts on the river who believed their hut had been interfered with and also encourage anyone in the area to report any suspicious vehicles or people, Mr Templeton said.

The Southland Times