Canaries, fish among thieves' booty

You would think driving a digger down the road at night would arouse suspicion - but that is what some of Canterbury's more brazen thieves tried to get away with last year.

Other strange things reported stolen in 2012 included garden ornaments, goldfish and canaries from an aviary.

Inspector Paul Fremaux said five diggers were reported stolen in Canterbury last year, two of which were for joy rides.

In February, an orange Bobcat digger was taken from River Rd, Avonside, and found 300 metres away.

"Obviously someone jumped on it and has given it a bit of a joy ride," Fremaux said.

A $270,000, 30-tonne Sumitomo digger was stolen from Owles Tce, Bexley, in March.

Fremaux said it was unclear whether the digger had been recovered.

A Hatachi digger worth $40,000 was taken from the side of the road near the Ashburton racecourse in early April. It was later recovered.

Later that month, a digger and trailer were taken from a yard in a block of units in Middleton, Christchurch.

A 1.8-tonne Komatsu digger valued at $55,000 parked at the Oxford Cemetery in November was stolen but later recovered.

A person was before the courts in relation to the theft, Fremaux said.

Other strange thefts included:

❏ Garden ornaments taken from an Islington garden in August, and swan and cat ornaments stolen in Waikari in March.

❏ Thirty exotic fish were taken from a concrete trough at an Amberley property last month, leaving only three behind.

❏ In September, 20 canaries were stolen from an aviary at the back of an Opawa property.

Fremaux said few thefts surprised police as criminals could be "pretty brazen".

As long as there was someone who would buy the stolen goods, criminals would continue to steal, he said.

"Owners and operators need to be security-conscious of opportunist or organised criminals," Fremaux said.

"Just because it's big and obvious doesn't mean it's not desirable to a thief."

Fremaux said the digger joy rides were probably alcohol-driven.

The Press