A burglary in Hastings on Tuesday night underlined the fact burglars targeting commercial premises were no longer breaking in through doors and windows.

They were now gaining entry through walls and rooftops.

Three burglaries involving commercial premises in the city were reported and in one the intruder had cut through the outside sheet tin wall and then punched a hole through interior lining to get in. Cigarettes were targeted, as they were in the other two burglaries.

The method of entry was similar to what police called "rooftop" burglaries where the thieves had gone through building cladding to gain entry.


The latest incidents, along with a "rooftop" burglary at an Onekawa commercial building earlier this week, have prompted police to urge business owners to carry out topside break-in prevention checks.

Hawke's Bay Police Community Constable, Mike Burne who oversees the Tamatea, Onekawa and Pandora industrial areas, said commercial break-ins were on the rise in the mid-North Island, although they were down in his patch. However, the latest incident in Onekawa showed rooftops still figured in the local break-in picture and said business owners needed to be wary. There were also two rooftop burglaries in Napier a couple of months ago.

"Typically it will be a skylight removed or smashed, or the roofing iron will be pulled back."

Mr Burne said previous incidents had showed targeted premises had good, high-profile road frontage.

"So breaching the main door may not be an option because it increases the chance of discovery - hence entering via the roof."

The best way to help prevent such break-ins was to reduce access to the rooftops, Mr Burne said. Removing stacked pallets beside outside walls, checking security grilles and immobilising forklifts in yards were good ideas.