A recent "stairdancing" incident in Napier has led police to issue a warning to business and shop employees to keep their belongings out of sight and secure.

Community Constable Mike Burne, who oversees the city's industrial zones, said as well as opportunist incidents business owners needed to be aware that the approach of Christmas traditionally meant a spike in shoplifting incidents.

In the stairdancing incident (where opportunist thieves enter premises on the hunt for a quick snatch and grab of employees' possessions) someone walked into a business in Pandora Rd and spotted a wallet lying unattended.

It was duly taken and cards from it were then used in a string of transactions from shops around Napier.


In terms of taking on the imminent surge of pre-Christmas shoplifting, Eastern Police Region Sergeant Nigel Hurley said police had taken a proactive stance and last month staged a retailers theft awareness meeting.

Since then police had visited many shops to speak with staff and advise on crime prevention.

"We are acutely aware of the damage shoplifting can do to our retail community," Mr Hurley said.

"We are here to support them."

He said police, through their community section, would continue touching base with retailers.

Mr Hurley also urged retailers to report any theft or general crime, which had not always been done because some shop managers spoken to said police were likely to be too busy to attend and such incidents were often just written off.

"But we want to hear about it as it helps us build a more accurate picture of what is happening."

Among the advice given to shop management was effectively using CCTV cameras, placing retail counters closer to the door and engaging with customers as they entered and to ensure they could see that staff were alert to what was happening in their store.

Shoplifting creates a major blow for retailing with estimates showing that it costs the industry across the country up to $750 million a year - nearly $2 million a day.

Also on the theft front, but on an industrial scale, Mr Burne also reinforced the need for people using shipping containers to store equipment to consider tightening their security.

He said he had spoken to several business operators who use containers for tool or general good storage.

"I am an advocate of using a lock box and the correct lock box padlock with it, making the task of getting into a shipping container a mission your garden-variety burglar would not probably want to bother with."

In a recent incident a container on a building site in Bridge St, Ahuriri, was broken into and a large quantity of tools taken.