Far North thieves have plumbed new depths of brazen cheek by stealing a large quantity of stone cladding - when it was already attached to a house.
Constable Paul Johnston, who is currently relieving at the Russell police station, said the owners of a waterfront property on Russell's Wahapu Peninsula were shocked to return home recently to find a wall stripped of its stone cladding.
A section of stone blocks, covering an area about 2.7m high and 450mm wide and attached with plaster, had been carefully removed.
Mr Johnston said whoever had stolen the cladding, sometime between February 15 and 18, had done so carefully and even cleaned up afterwards. The thief or thieves may have used a boat to access the property and make off with the blocks.
Worse still, it was not the first time the home had been targeted. In an earlier theft, which was not reported to police, an area about three times bigger had been stripped of cladding.
Mr Johnston said the imported stone blocks measured 30mm x 50mm and came in various lengths. The cost of the damage and stolen material had yet to be ascertained.
Mr Johnston said the stolen blocks were distinctive so someone was likely to recognise them. It was possible they had been used for a DIY project such as a stone barbecue.
He urged anyone who had seen the blocks being removed, knew where they were, or knew of someone using blocks similar to those in the photo above to call the Russell police station on (09) 403 9090. In addition, anonymous tips can be passed on to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The home owners were offering a reward, he said.