Police are appealing for information after a man was hit over the head and had his car stolen in Dargaville. Between 10.15pm and 10.40pm on Tuesday night, the man left an address on Plunket St and travelled towards Dargaville Hospital via one of the three adjoining streets. During that trip he was assaulted and suffered a blow to the head. His vehicle, a distinctive orange/copper metallic coloured Lexus IS200 saloon, was stolen and found crashed and burnt out on Victoria St, near the Northern Wairoa Bridge a short time later. Anyone who has information that could help the investigation should contact Detective Andrew Bailey on 021 191 5765 or Detective Sergeant Jonathan Tier on 021 191 5774 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Memories are precious

Many Northland people will take part in Memory Walks, the awareness and fundraising events that honour people with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia causing loss of memory. The walks recognise that memories are precious, yet memory loss is one of the most common effects of dementia disease, 60 to 70 per cent of which cases are Alzheimers. Walks, with participants wearing distinct purple T-shirts, will be held in Dargaville, Kerikeri and Kaitaia tomorrow, starting at 9am, and in Whangarei on Sunday, from 10am at the Canopy Bridge and around the Hatea Loop. Collectors will be outside some supermarkets in Northland today to mark World Alzheimer's Day, held every September 21.

Red Cross raising funds

Red Cross Northland is urging businesses to support its morning tea fundraiser and promote disaster preparedness. The morning tea costs $5 a head and will be delivered to businesses between 10am and 11am on Friday, October 12. It will consist of a sausage roll, sandwich and a sweet treat. There's a minimum of 10 orders per business. The deadline for orders is October 4. Order by phoning 09 438 3120 or email whangarei @redcross.org.nz

Gastro warning

Following a rise in gastro infections during late winter, Northland health officials say people dealing with animals should take extra care with hand hygiene. A spike occurred during the lambing and calving seasons but people are warned to continue to take care. Cryptosporidium, E. coli, campylobacter and other parasites found in the gut of humans and animals cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pain, sometimes vomiting and fever. Symptoms usually appear within seven days of exposure, but can take from one to 12 days. People become infected with the parasite from animal faecal matter, contaminated water or touching their mouths with contaminated hands. Most people get better within a week but those with more serious illness should seek medical help.