Toyworld store plagued by vandalism

By Tessa Johnstone of the Wairarapa Times Age -
Toyworld owner Marie-Therese Evans said she is frustrated by constant vandalism and graffiti. Photo / Wairarapa Times Age
Toyworld owner Marie-Therese Evans said she is frustrated by constant vandalism and graffiti. Photo / Wairarapa Times Age

Masterton's Toyworld may be forced to move if graffiti and vandalism continues to plague the store, the owner says.

Marie-Therese Evans, who owns the shop with husband Wayne, said it was targeted by vandals twice in April, costing the business more than $1000.

The Queen St store had its rear roller doors and concrete pillars on the roof tagged, and also had one of its windows smashed over the weekend.

Although landlords Lands Trust Masterton meet the cost of the broken glass, Toyworld has to replace the graphics on the window at a cost of about $1000.

The vandalism came after a break-in at the shop at Easter, which resulted in the front doors being smashed and a cash draw with about $400 in it stolen.

Evans said as well as the cost of the clean-up, having to stay closed while police investigated and replacing glass was also costly.

She said she is extremely frustrated by the graffiti and vandalism. "There's nothing we can do ... I just really wonder why we bother doing business around here."

Evans said although they have security lights and an alarm, it does not deter vandals and the problem has been worse since neighbours Hireworld closed.

Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stephanie Gundersen-Reid said graffiti and vandalism is an extra cost businesses do not need. "There's huge hassle value to it, they have to go and clean it up and there's a cost to that. It's vandalism for no purpose, and it puts an economic strain on them."

She said that businesses should not be forced to shift locations because of it, and she did not know how to prevent it other than to install security cameras.

Sergeant Mike Sutton said while police have not seen a noticeable increase in graffiti and vandalism, he understands businesses frustrations. "The volume of it is low but it is there and it's frustrating for everyone."

He said businesses need to "record, report and remove".

Sutton said businesses should take photos of the graffiti, because tags can sometimes be identified, report it to police, and remove it quickly.

"The longer a tag is left up the more likely it is to attract other tagging."

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