Far North Police are shining a light on a spate of solar panel thefts from crucial telecommunications sites in the region.
This week the Kaitaia Criminal Investigation Branch has executed numerous search warrants, resulting in two men being arrested.
Detective Sergeant Dan Brockbank says a large amount of stolen equipment was recovered, including batteries, power invertors, as well as illicit drug seizures.
“There have been numerous reports in the last 16 months where important equipment has allegedly been stolen from remote cell phone towers and telecommunication exchanges across the Far North area,” he says.
“This equipment is expensive and is vital to providing back up power to these sites.”
Kaitaia CIU have been investigating these reports.
Two men, aged 30 and 31, first appeared in the Kaitaia District Court on Wednesday on burglary charges, and one of these males is also facing drug related charges.
Both have been remanded in custody until 8 January 2024.
Detective Sergeant Brockbank says burglary and drug offending charges have been laid so far, with investigations continuing into other reports.
“We can’t rule out further arrests or charges being laid as our work continues,” he says.
“We live in a beautiful, but remote part of the country so it’s important these vital pieces of infrastructure can still operate and keep our region connected no matter what.”
Anyone with information which could assist is asked to contact Police on 105 or via https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105 using ‘Update Report’ and quote file number 231218/2596.
Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.