Looting in Edgecumbe prompts volunteer night patrols


After flood-hit homes in Edgecumbe have been looted, volunteers are rallying together to create a night-time community watch.

More than 1600 people were forced to evacuate the town earlier this month when the Rangitaiki River burst its stopbank during Cyclone Debbie.

Police patrolled the streets of Edgecumbe for some time after the flood, but official security has been pulled back since Civil Defence warnings for the area were dropped.

Now, after a spate of incidents where TVs, laptops and even a jetski were stolen, volunteers are taking matters into their own hands.

Kawerau woman Nen Tulloch says she came up with the idea of community patrols after her aunty's home was ransacked.

"She said as soon as she walked in, they saw the footprints. All of their electrics that they put up high had been taken - laptops, X-Box games, the microwave."

Ms Tulloch says it's horrific to think people would target people that have already suffered so much.

"They lost everything in the flood," she says.

Ms Tulloch told The AM Show it's disappointing security has been taken away, and shocking that it's up to volunteers in the community.

"I can't believe that the Army's not there. Us civvies we have no rights, we've got no liability cover, if our dog was to bite someone, do our dogs get put down?"

Newshub has contacted police for comment on the security situation.

Ms Tulloch says she's aware a number of people who've fallen victim to looters haven't reported the incidents.

"People are so stressed after the floods. They don't want to be dealing with anything else that's negative."

The flood-relief volunteer says a lot of residents have come forward who are keen to help with the patrols.

She's planning on contacting the fire service to see if their local station could be used for a base for patrol crews, and is hoping the idea pulls together in the next few days.

"These people need something in place to help them take care of what little's left".


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