Hawke's Bay crime has dropped during life under Covid-19 but a Marewa business owner can be forgiven for not celebrating.

Burglars who made off with thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes and tobacco in an early-morning raid on the Marewa Four Square are still being sought by police.

Two of the thieves were caught on CCTV about 3am on April 23, but the images show ghoulish figures with no facial features.

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At least one of the burglars is now thought to have raided another shop in Napier about a month earlier.

The value of stock and cash taken is put at $6000-$7000, with the superette proprietor also having to repair damage to three doors and locks which were forced with the crowbar, as well as disinfecting the premises as a Covid-19 precaution.

A Marewa Four Square spokesman said the break-in during lockdown left staff feeling "physically and mentally stressed".

"Our team have been so exhausted to trying to cope with the lockdown, then this happened," he said. "I hope they will get caught, not just because a crime has been committed, but they also broke our shop bubble."

The burglary came at a time when police were reporting burglary rates had almost halved during the lockdown.

A store spokesman said staff were left feeling
A store spokesman said staff were left feeling "physically and mentally stressed" after cash and cigarretes were stolen. Photo / Suppled

Hawke's Bay Area Prevention Manager Inspector Marty James said the majority of people in the region had been following alert level restrictions, and there had been a decline in crime reports across theft and burglary, road policing and assaults.

"In comparison to a similar period last year, frontline staff have seen a 57 per cent decrease in road policing activity, a 42 per cent fall in theft and burglary reports and a 26 per cent drop in assaults," he said.

"The decrease in some crime types is likely due to a number of factors, such as the highly visible police presence in communities across the country, lower traffic volumes and the fact suspicious behaviour will stand out more with fewer people around."


The Marewa Four Square spokesman said the community had helped the store through the tough situation.

"Fixing the damage in a time like this is going to be a nightmare," he said.

"And please, if you know anybody or see unusual cigarettes pop up for sale somewhere, let us know.

"Thank you for the support of our community and the police who have been trying very hard to help us out."

James requested anyone who had been the victim of a crime to report it either by phoning 105, or if the crime is in progress or there are immediate concerns for someone's safety, by calling 111.

"Crime prevention advice for businesses can be found on the police website."