South Canterbury's missing public toilet located
South Canterbury's e-loo-sive public toilet has been found - less than 100 metres from where it was supposed to be.
The Timaru District Council called for sightings of one of its public toilets earlier this week, believing a thief had made off with the single toilet block from Te Moana Gorge, near Geraldine.
A person at the gorge contacted the council on Monday after noticing the absence of the toilet block, which was installed in December.
Hoping to crack the case, and prompted by reader Cameron Moir, who said the loo was not far from where it was supposed to be, Timaru Herald chief photographer John Bisset and friend Barry de Wit headed to the gorge on Thursday.
READ MORE: Toilet theft baffles
After scouring the area for several minutes, they discovered the rogue toilet between 80-100 metres away from its usual home, over a river bank.
"It looked reasonably unscathed, one of the vent pipes was broken," Bisset said.
Bisset said he was surprised by how easy it was to find it, "unless someone's put it back there".
Council corporate services group manager Tina Rogers said both contractors and the members of the public who reported the toilet missing had looked for it, but "obviously were looking in the wrong places!"
"Although we're pleased that this puts an end to the mystery surrounding the toilet's theft and dumping, we're saddened that someone has decided to mindlessly vandalise a valuable community facility," she said.
"At the end of the day the result is the same, a large bill for the community, but hopefully finding the toilet may help identify those responsible."
Contractors had been to the site, and had determined the toilet had been removed by vandals, as the bolts holding it to a concrete pad underneath had been carefully removed and left at the scene, she said.
While the toilet had been located, ratepayers will still be left with a $5000 bill to replace the damaged amenity, a council spokesman said.
Sergeant Mike van der Heyden, of Temuka, said police would be heading to the gorge on Thursday afternoon to continue the investigation.