Shop offers security to scared kids

'My shop door is always open for young people'

Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Olivia Milne buys a chocolate bar from dairy owner Grant Stevenson.
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ

SAFE HAVEN: Olivia Milne buys a chocolate bar from dairy owner Grant Stevenson.

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A Timaru dairy owner is reminding schoolchildren his shop is a "safe haven" if they ever feel in danger on their way to and from school.

Grant Stevenson owns Grant's On The Spot, a few doors down from Oceanview Heights School, which is at the centre of a suspected abduction.

A 9-year-old boy, who is a pupil at the school, was found injured and distressed on a bridge 15km west of the city on Thursday. Police are treating it as a possible abduction.

Mr Stevenson said his shop door in Selwyn St was always open for young people if they needed a safe place to go to, or to use the phone. "It's just a thing that we've always done, if they feel threatened or anything like that."

He said some years ago a teacher at the former Marchwiel School asked students where they would go if they felt unsafe and several had identified his shop.

Recent events had reminded him of that and yesterday he visited three schools, including Oceanview Heights, to inform children they always had a place to go to if they felt unsafe.

He felt too many children walked the streets alone.

"I can't do much about it . . . as long as they know they've got somewhere to go if they need to."

Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said going into a shop was a "good option".

The incident last week was unusual. "We don't get any real incidents of this type [usually]."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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