Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Kiwis in frame after stolen plate appears on Facebook

Jeremy Campion with the stolen number plate.
Jeremy Campion with the stolen number plate.

Photos of two New Zealand men posing with a number plate in the Cook Islands are being investigated by police after they were posted on Facebook.

But the two men say they regret taking the plate and will send it back.

Rarotonga convenience store owner Clem Fortes, 51, laid a complaint with the Cook Islands police about his wife Vicki's missing number plate - which says DABOSS - after seeing pictures of two men posing with it on Facebook yesterday.

Mr Fortes believed the plate had been taken from their Hilux truck while the couple were watching the weekend's rugby match between the All Blacks and England at a local pub.

Chris Hanley with the number plate.

After posting a photo of the plate on a community Facebook page, he received a message containing links to the pictures from Jeremy Campion's Facebook page. Blenheim man Chris Hanley, 26, was also in a photo with the number plate. The photos had been taken in Rarotonga.

Mr Fortes said he wouldn't normally report a missing number plate to the police but decided to after seeing the photos on Facebook.

"The response was pretty immediate and then this morning I received a Facebook message by a young lady who had seen it on 'Rarotonga Community and Beyond'."
He was keen to get the plate back as a pair cost about $300.

Both Mr Hanley and Mr Campion, who were on holiday with their girlfriends and friends at the time, told the Herald they regretted the incident.

"We'd been drinking all afternoon having a good time on holiday," Mr Campion said.

"We happened to see this plate ... and we laughed and thought, 'That would look good on the wall' ... "

The next day, the plate was posted to Blenheim, where Mr Hanley lives.

Mr Hanley, who put the photos on his own Facebook page, said: "Our girlfriends weren't impressed about it. We're real sorry about it."

Mr Campion said he contacted police in Rarotonga yesterday.

He had also messaged Mr Fortes.

As soon as the plate arrives in Blenheim, Mr Hanley plans to send it back to Mr Fortes. The pair also want to apologise for what they did.

A Rarotonga police spokeswoman confirmed staff were investigating.

- NZ Herald

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