Upper Hutt on 'high alert' after speaker systems disappear from raceways, schools

The Upper Hutt community is on high alert since PA speaker systems continue to disappear across the district.

Wellington Speedway alone has lost thousands of dollars worth of equipment in just the last week.

"We have about 30 speakers for audio announcements to the public when we have a race meeting on and they took about 20 of them," speedway vice president Aaron Musgrove says.

It isn't an easy task to steal them. It's thought that those responsible stacked wheelie bins on top of each other to get to the speakers which were bolted in place.

"The speakers are about $200 to $300 each including labour and things, it's a $10,000 expense to the track."

It's a cost that keeps growing - eight months ago another dozen speakers vanished.

"It's also a kick in the guts that we come up here and put our heart and soul into it and then to have people come and steal from you, it's not very nice," Musgrove says.

Police say PA systems don't have serial numbers so they are hard to identify as stolen. They advise those with systems to take extra precautions such as installing CCTV and mounting cages around them.

The problem of speakers going missing isn't new. Every year, schools around the country lose speakers, and police say they appear to be targeted and attached to cars and bikes for makeshift sound systems.

Upper Hutt is no different with reports of speakers disappearing from local schools and Trentham Racecourse.

"All those organisations are voluntary organisations or, like you say, organisations without much money, and what started out a few weeks ago seems to have snowballed," Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy says.

He hopes that the snowball effect will catch up with those responsible.

"We're on high alert. Everyone's looking to make sure because they'll slip up and we'll get them."

As for Wellington Speedway, it's replacing as many speakers as it can and attaching them higher up the pole in the hopes of being out of reach for any future would-be thieves.