Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Bay liquor store hit by thieves for the sixth time in as many months

Charanjit Singh Dhillon's Bottle-O in Fraser Cove was hit for the sixth time in six months on Wednesday night.
Charanjit Singh Dhillon's Bottle-O in Fraser Cove was hit for the sixth time in six months on Wednesday night.

A Bay of Plenty liquor store owner is fed up after thieves targeted his store for the sixth time in as many months - and says more police are needed to handle crime in Tauranga.

Charanjit Singh Dhillon's Bottle-O in Fraser Cove was hit again on Wednesday night.

Mr Dhillon said three teenagers entered the store about 6.20pm.

The teenagers took four bottles of alcohol. Two female staff were working at the time, he said.

"The boys walked into the store after my two staff members tried to say, 'nope, sorry you cannot come in here', then they forcefully entered the premises.

"The first boy took a bottle of spirits, my staff members tried to stop the other two but they just grabbed and ran as well."

Mr Dhillon said the offenders were seen loitering in the area before hand.

He said he was worried about his staff's safety given how many times the store had been targeted.

Police responded quickly on Wednesday but on earlier occasions they were not so fast, he said.

In December last year, his store was broken into three times on the same night but police did not respond until after the third break-in despite Mr Dhillon reporting it each time.

At the time police said they had been tied up dealing with other matters of higher priority.

Mr Dhillon said he believed more police were needed in Tauranga so they could respond more quickly.

Mr Dhillon said he believed he had done everything he could in terms of safety.

"Every time we ring 111 when we have a problem. We are told 'sorry we don't have enough police in the area to come'."

Senior Sergeant Carl Purcell said when police were called they had to assess their priorities. Mr Purcell said police could be dealing with a crash, serious assault and shoplifting at the same time.

"It is one of those things. We do go there. If the offenders are still on the premises or being held there, we will get there quicker but if they are gone, us getting there 10 minutes earlier, is that going to make much difference?

"We will get the same story if we arrive at a later time."

Mr Purcell acknowledged theft was still important but police had to prioritise their resources.

There would be times when a 111 call was made and a patrol would be 30 seconds away, other times the closest patrol would be in Welcome Bay with the next nearest patrol at Mount Maunganui, he said.

"The guys will get there as quickly as they can."

Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair said: "As with other police districts, we will always need to prioritise our resources according to demand, with a strong focus on preventing and reducing serious and violent crime.

"However, just because an officer doesn't attend immediately this does not mean the situation is not being taken seriously or investigated where appropriate."

Mr Purcell said inquiries were continuing into Wednesday night's theft.

The teenagers would be put through the Youth Court process, he said.

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