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During last year’s lockdown, Oamaru police saw an increase in cases of family harm but, under the nation’s most recent lockdown, a different issue has reared its head.

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said there was an unusual increase in people drinking alcohol and abusing their neighbours.

“Be respectful of neighbours and those that are around,” Snr Sgt McCoy said.

“Have a good time without it impacting on anyone else.”

From start of lockdown to Monday, police were called to seven reports of family harm in Oamaru.

This was the usual rate of family harm calls outside of lockdown, he said.

Snr Sgt McCoy said while people were confined at home under lockdown and unhappy with one another, people should “take some time out” and use coping strategies.

“If you are getting wound up, go for a walk around the block or separate yourself from that situation.”

For anyone wanting support to stop drinking or who thinks they might have an issue with alcohol, Oamaru’s Alcoholics Anonymous group is holding virtual meetings during lockdown.

A spokesman from the group said anyone was welcome to join the online meetings.

“Just come along,” he said.

“If there is a problem that’s what we are there for.”

Eight people have been issued with lockdown infringement notices for breaching lockdown rules in the Waitaki district.

Snr Sgt McCoy said four of the notices were issued to people who gathered for a party in Omarama last Friday night.

An Invercargill resident, who was driving to Christchurch, was also issued an infringement notice after being stopped by police in Oamaru at 1.49am on Saturday.

Another person, who had previously been warned, was fined for continually driving and not adhering to the lockdown rules. They had also breached rules during last year’s lockdown.

At 11pm on Tuesday, a 29-year-old Oamaru man, and his passenger, crashed in Horse Gully Rd after doing burnouts. The vehicle had no registration, warrant of fitness, seatbelts, or lights. The driver was arrested and charged with drink-driving, after recording a breath-alcohol level of 873mcg.

He was also charged with dangerous driving and sustained loss of traction and he, and his male passenger, were issued infringement notices for breaking Alert Level 4 lockdown rules.

There had also been a spate of lockdown burglaries in the Waitaki district.

Snr Sgt McCoy said a chainsaw and other items were stolen from a shed in Orwell St overnight on Sunday.

Between 1am and 4am on Monday, a Mitsubishi Triton was taken from a driveway in Goodwood. The vehicle had been recovered and police inquiries were continuing, he said.

Between August 17 and 23, a commercial shed was broken into in Horse Range Rd, and several items were stolen.

Around the same time, a ute was broken into in Palmerston’s Tiverton St, and items stolen.

Snr Sgt McCoy reminded the community to be alert for suspicious activity happening in the community, and to call 111 immediately.

Where to get help

  • Women’s Refuge Crisisline on 800 733 843
  • Police on 111
  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline on 800 787 797
  • Oamaru Mental Health Support Centre on 03-747 4101
  • Oamaru Alcoholics Anonymous 432-4191 or 437-2337