Alleged boat burglars left photos behind

SAM MORTON
Last updated 15:10 14/12/2011
River Queen
Target for vandals: The River Queen has been an on-going target of vandals.

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Four burglars allegedly took photos of themselves partying on the River Queen cruise boat in Blenheim - and left the camera behind.

Photos show the men drinking alcohol on board the vessel on the Opawa River late into Sunday night, River Queen owner Peter Makin said.

Blenheim Constable Michelle Stagg said two vineyard workers, a cherry picker and a tourist were identified and arrested on Monday in connection with the burglary.

Makin said he was upset when he heard about the damage, but having dealt with more than a dozen vandalism acts on the boat this year, he was not surprised.

"Unfortunately, I am experienced in dealing with this damage, but it's almost becoming uneconomical to keep the boat operating after paying for the repairs all the time. It's quite sad really,'' he said.

"One of them has ripped the skipper's door off and raided the alcohol supplies."

In March, River Queen staff, fed up with thieves, hid on board the boat at night and tried to catch the culprits in action, but they ran off.

Makin said he was disappointed his boat had been constantly targeted, but steps were in place to increase security around the area.

"Last week alone we dealt with nine broken windows. There really is no reason for people to do this,'' he said.

"We are in the process of revamping security measures at the moment and installing a battery-powered siren, so with or without power, an alarm will sound and give intruders a shake-up."

Makin said he had spoken to the Marlborough District Council and hoped a surveillance camera could be installed near the wharf.

He had been forced to move his boat from the usual dock at weekends to prevent it being targeted by people on their way home from a night on the town.

Stagg said a 24-year-old vineyard worker and a 26-year-old cherry picker had been charged with burglary and bailed to appear in the Blenheim District Court on December 19.

The other men were charged with unlawfully being on a boat.

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- The Marlborough Express

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