Campers poo in red zone home

02:31, Mar 19 2014

Tourists using bedrooms as toilets are keeping Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) staff tasked with monitoring the residential red zone busy.

Cera has more than 3000 Crown-owned properties it hopes to clear by the end of the year.

Chief executive Roger Sutton said today while the majority of security issues were ''run-of-the-mill'', some of the situations staff had encountered ''beggars belief''.

A group of German tourists were found camping in a Crown-owned home in Southshore, with their tent pitched in the lounge and a BBQ set up for cooking beside it. A bedroom had been used as a toilet.

Cera staff recorded footage of the indoor camp site and alerted police to the situation.

''It caused a health risk to my staff, but in general is just disgusting behaviour and not something we would want other tourists to think was acceptable anywhere in New Zealand,'' Sutton said.

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As well as the indoor-camping issue, staff discovered a situation in which former property owners had been paid out for their property by the Crown, but nearby residents had heard that a large ''farewell bonfire'' was being planned for the house.

''There are obviously many people living right next door to the red zone areas and they need to feel safe and secure,'' Sutton said.

''So we do everything we can to reassure them that we are keeping an eye on the properties, and any potential bad behaviour in the general area.

Sutton reiterated that settled properties in the red zone were not abandoned.

''It's not a free-for-all for anyone to use or destroy them, and we need to make sure we work through the insurance issues and EQC issues before properties are demolished or relocated, so that the taxpayer gets the best value out of the money being spent.''

The Press