A break-in that netted thieves almost $15000 worth of gear was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The First North Shepparton Scouts Group’s hall has been broken into on at least four occasions since August 2016, with one forcing the group to cancel a number of planned camps.
Yesterday, a fully-monitored alarm system was installed in the hall in a last-ditch effort to deter thieves.
‘‘They’re not hurting us, they’re hurting the kids ... which is saddening,’’ First North Shepparton Scouts Group leader Christy Gray said.
‘‘We’re all volunteers and we want to provide kids with opportunities to learn and better themselves.’’
During one break-in last year, offenders stole almost 15 hiking backpacks and numerous other items including tents, gazebos, eskies and hot water tanks.
‘‘They must’ve had a ute and trailer and been here for hours and hours,’’ Mrs Gray said.
‘‘They came back within 24 hours looking for more stuff just a night later.’’
Mrs Gray said vandalism had also been a problem, with smashed windows, objects stuck in locks and spray painting on walls a regular occurrence.
‘‘It makes the kids feel sad because they feel like it’s their belongings that are being stolen and damaged,’’ she said.
The Department of Justice helped fund the alarm system with a $6600 grant.
Installed by Mark Thomas from Advanced Electronics and Security, the system is comprised of movement sensors and smoke detection instruments.
‘‘There is an audible alarm which goes off and will alert scout members, which they can respond to or ask for security guards to attend,’’ Mr Thomas said.
Mrs Gray said it was with help of Mr Thomas, Greater Shepparton City Council and Shepparton police the group was successful in receiving the grant.
Any parent or child interested in learning more about scouts can phone Christy on 0409 140 780 or email [email protected] victoria.com.au