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Burglars hit Canty properties after quake

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/11/2016

Nineteen burglaries have been reported at Canterbury homes and businesses since the latest earthquake to hit the province and police say they will do their upmost to find the offenders.

District commander Superintendent John Price says it's extremely disappointing that some people are interested only in taking advantage of a traumatic event.

"This sort of offending really scrapes the bottom of the barrel, especially for Cantabrians who have endured so much heartache in similar circumstances over the last five years," he said.

"I want to assure residents that Canterbury police will do everything in their power to find the people responsible for this disgusting spate of crime."

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck near Hanmer Springs just after midnight.

Supt Price said some of the burglaries reported on Monday might have occurred before the earthquake.

However, it did appear that a number of properties were definitely broken into while their occupants were evacuated in the wake of the initial tremor and the aftershocks.

He said police were increasing the numbers of staff carrying out patrols in the region.

NZ First leader Winston Peters wants parliament to condemn the "evil" acts when it sits on Tuesday.

"It should agree to pass legislation that will deliver a sentence that will make anyone else, when tempted, to think twice," he said.

"No decent society should allow such cold-hearted individuals to get away with a slap on the wrist - let's make a commitment to do something."

In one raid, a disabled girl's $5000 hearing device was stolen.

Matt and Melissa Mill and their two daughters left their house in the seaside suburb of New Brighton and returned five hours later to find it ransacked.

A truck and the hearing device needed by their disabled 12-year-old daughter were stolen.

"It's really horrid," Mrs Mills told NZME.

"We took our family away to be safe and came back to all of this. It's just devastating."

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