Wairarapa police were kept on their toes this week, arresting burglars in Masterton, Martinborough and Featherston and dealing with the aftermath of vandalism.

Masterton police chased down a burglar fleeing the Solway Caltex yesterday, after an alert resident raised the alarm.

The burglar was one of two people who smashed their way into the service station at 4am, making off with about 200 packets of cigarettes.

Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said a quick-thinking resident made all the difference.


"Police were notified by an alert neighbour who heard a noise, not an immediate neighbour but a resident in the vicinity. We had a patrol in the area and quickly responded.

"They chased him on foot and were able to catch him. It just goes to show we are out and about, and with that quick information coming through from that member of the public we were able to respond to that, and that's what made the difference."

A 19-year-old Masterton man has been charged and remanded in custody after appearing in Masterton District Court yesterday.

It was still unclear whether yesterday's burglary was linked to a major cigarette theft at P&K Supermarket in Martinborough over the weekend, but police were investigating the possibility, Mr Sutton said.

Prompt information was vital to making an arrest, he said.

"With that P&K one we actually had a patrol in Martinborough but we weren't notified until an hour afterwards."

The Caltex and P&K burglaries come just weeks after the Renall St Store in Masterton was raided for tobacco and cash.

Mr Sutton said cigarettes and tobacco were "sought-after items at the moment" and it was a reminder to businesses that sold tobacco to take all possible precautions.

Earlier this week, police raided a Martinborough property, arrested a man on burglary charges and uncovered an indoor cannabis growing operation.

A 25-year-old Martinborough man has been charged in relation to the Kitchener St burglary, attempting to steal a car and cultivating cannabis.

South Wairarapa Sergeant Richie Day said police believed the man had broken into an empty holiday home.

"A TV and a large quantity of alcohol was stolen and the offender has also tried to take the Mustang parked in the garage."

Forensic evidence left at the scene had led police to the man, Mr Day said.

"It was down to good police work, but we also heavily rely on members of the public passing on information. If people pass on information, we will act on it."

On Monday evening, police arrested a 43-year-old man on burglary charges, after a Featherston resident returned home to find a man filling bags with their belongings.

The man appeared in Masterton District Court on burglary charges on Tuesday.

In Masterton early yesterday, a huge plate glass window in Lincoln Rd was smashed when a street paving stone was thrown through it with such force the missile broke in two.

Street-sweeping contractors reported that the window had seemed intact at 5am, so it was presumed the window, part of the old Post Office building, was attacked sometime after then and before dawn.

The 10mm glass window was estimated to have a replacement cost of $1500, which did not include the cost of labour to replace it.

Police said there had been a spate of smashed windows in the town a few weeks ago, but they were unsure if it was a consistent trend.