A Whangārei childcare centre hit by a string of thefts and vandalism is spending thousands of dollars on a security system instead of on the children they care for.
In the latest burglary of Saint John Progressive Childcare Centre over the weekend a sun shade over the sand pit area was stolen.
In December flexible clear plastic panels in a fence along two sides of the centre, which is off Kamo Rd and shares a border with the Kamo Shared Cycle Pathway, were vandalised and pushed out of the fence.
In another incident in February a hose reel and all the attachments were stolen. The hose had been used to water the garden and also during water play with the children.
Centre manager Megan Attwood said the string of incidents had forced the centre to look at getting security cameras as the section of shared pathway was not covered by Whangārei District Council cameras.
The thefts had all be reported to police but the chances of finding those responsible would be almost impossible.
"I'm really disappointed as a not-for-profit organisation we have to put all this money into a security system. At the end of the day it's taking away from our children," Attwood said.
"There isn't sufficient coverage of the pathway by council cameras and they came back to us recommending we put in our own system."
Quotes had indicated systems up to $3500 would be needed to cover the area but the centre, which is registered for 70 children, was still looking for the best deal they could get.
The theft of the shade cloth meant less shade for the children and with the recent arrival of rain this week, no shelter from the wet stuff either.
Attwood said the centre had no problems before the shared pathway was put in. A board member was looking at ways to install the flexible plastic panels which may included some mesh wire.
"Yet again, it's money that we should be spending on our children."