Cheeky pair vanish with $80,000 barge

By Peter de Graaf

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A Northland oyster farmer is calling for sightings of a barge brazenly stolen from in front of his Te Hapua home.

Roy Langford said the barge had been seen leaving Parengarenga Harbour, just south of Cape Reinga, on August 19. Later that day it was seen with two men on board passing Henderson Bay, on the east coast near Houhora.

A few weeks later it was seen in the Kerikeri Inlet by a Fisheries officer on the police launch Deodar, but no one on board realised it was stolen.

Mr Langford said the most recent, but unconfirmed, sighting was at Kerikeri's Opito Bay, where a barge matching its description was seen leaving the bay early one morning last week.

Someone else had reported seeing the barge on the back of a truck in the Dome Valley near Warkworth, but Mr Langford believed it was still in Northland.

It was most likely to be in the Bay of Islands but could be in the Whangarei area. The two men seen on board as it was leaving Parengarenga lived in Whangarei, he said.

Mr Langford, who owns Rameka Bay Oysters, was away when the $80,000 barge was taken so he moored it close to his Te Hapua home in just a metre of water. He had used it to build his oyster farm but more recently used it as a pleasure boat. The make was Coastal Explorer and it was named Facilitator II.

Mr Langford said he had gone to great lengths to track it down, contacting boating clubs, haulage firms and coastal residents. The Kaitaia aero club had even helped him carry out an aerial search of the coast from Houhora to Whangaroa.

He urged anyone who saw the barge to contact Kaitaia police on (09) 408 6500 with the file number 120823/6816. Anonymous tips can also be passed to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- Northern Advocate

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