Two men have been charged with stealing solar panels from crucial telecommunications sites in the Far North, say police.
The Kaitaia Criminal Investigation Branch has executed numerous search warrants which led to the arrest of the two men, 30 and 31.
Detective Sergeant Dan Brockbank said a large amount of stolen equipment was recovered, including batteries, power inverters, 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 said.
“This equipment is expensive and is vital to providing back up power to these sites.”
The two men appeared in the Kaitaia District Court yesterday on burglary charges, with one of the men also facing a drug related charge.
Brockbank said both have been remanded in custody until 8 January 2024.
Burglary and drug offending charges have been laid so far but investigations were continuing into other reports, he said.
“We can’t rule out further arrests or charges being laid as our work continues.
“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.”
Police are asking anyone with information which could assist to contact them on 105 or via https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105 using ‘Update Report’ and quote file number 231218/2596.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.