Police have apologised for a lack of communication with staff at Tararua Community Youth Services following last Friday's break-in and burglary.

Staff discovered the break-in at 8.45am and waited until 3pm before securing the premises, without having had a visit from police.

As well as items stolen, the centre was left in chaos, with doors and locks wrecked.

TCYS manager Jeanne O'Brien was shocked by the devastation and disappointed at the lack of support or communication from police.


However, senior sergeant Nathan Davis of Tararua Police said extraordinary circumstances meant the scene of crime officer, (SOCO), did not arrive in Dannevirke that day.

"He was on his way when he came across the truck which had crashed into the Manawatu River," he said.

"He went down into the water and following that the police officer ended up in hospital with hypothermia. This SOCO team carries out the forensic work for the Manawatu area and because the burglary at TCYS was serious, we needed that forensic evidence.

"But could we have communicated better with staff at TCYS? Yes."

Tararua District mayor Roly Ellis said he is extremely worried about the number of police in Dannevirke, but acknowledged it was a national problem in rural areas.

"At the Local Government New Zealand annual general meeting in Dunedin at the end of this month a remit is being put forward to ask the police minister to look into what mayors believe is inadequate boots on the ground.

"I've been to see the Manawatu area commander over the past three years about declining numbers and we hear all sorts of excuses, but at the end of the day, it's about the lack of police on the ground," he added.

Meanwhile, police have recovered some of the property from the TCYS burglary.

"After SOCO had attended the scene at the weekend we had evidential exhibits recovered which led to items being recovered from a property," Mr Davis said.

"We also recovered property which belongs to the offenders. Although we are following a strong line of enquiry, no-one was home at the residence."

Mr Davis said two males "of interest" appeared on CCTV security cameras, but he was not saying they were the people responsible for the burglary.

"But having names splashed on Facebook was just unhelpful and some of our valuable time on Monday was spent putting out fires as a result. But there will be people in town who do know who is responsible for this burglary and we'd like to hear from them.

Mr Davis was concerned innocent people had been accused of the TCYS burglary.

"It wasn't fair, nor was it particularly safe and there were some pretty upset people around town. If people have information on crimes they can text message or phone the police."

And although police are not saying reports of cars being broken into and damaged over the weekend in Dannevirke are connected to the TCYS burglary, Mr Davis said this was pretty basic offending, with windows smashed and items snatched from gloveboxes.

"However, following another burglary in town, the tag at that scene also appeared at the house where we recovered stolen property from the TCYS burglary," he said.

And although the incidents of burglary are on the rise, Mr Davis said police are solving crimes with the help of the public.

"Burglaries have increased over the last financial year and what we are tracking in Dannevirke is that these are being carried out by youth offenders.

" In the past we've had some very active youth offenders.

"You can't arrest yourself out of a crime problem, it's a challenge for the whole community.

"We have to look at the motivation and also at alternative resolutions, as well as accountability and trying to teach young people that it's not okay.

"We see the same names and the same families cropping up and I would ask families what are they doing to prevent their young people from offending.

"Parents also need to ask, 'where did you get that'?

"I'm not saying don't be a mum or dad, but part of being an adult is not turning a blind eye."