Andrea and Stu Weir are considering installing a second security camera outside their 24/7 unmanned shop after cash cassettes holding about $250 were ripped from their raw milk vending machine.
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Andrea Weir investigates a self-service raw milk machine which was burgled in the early hours of Monday morning. JOHN BISSET/STUFF

The burglary at Timaru’s only self-service raw milk dispenser, on Fairview Rd, early Monday morning marks the first time the machine has been targeted in its six years in operation, farmers Andrea and Stu Weir said.

Footage from the existing security camera at the back of the Real Milk Timaru shop revealed a heavily disguised man opening the machine with a crowbar and taking off with the money at 4.47am.

“We’ve had the milk shop for six years and this is the first time we’ve had an issue.

“The road we’re on is quite lit up and active. If someone is up to no good, usually people can see so I think that’s been a deterrent up until now.”

Fresh, non-homogenised, and non-pasteurised milk is sold at the unmanned shop, with deliveries available three days a week.

The Weirs believe a second, more visible security camera at the front of the shop would help discourage further potential burglars.

“It also might just give us more information. We’ll be able to pick up a registration number, or whether they came from town or the rural side,” Andrea said.

The Weirs had considered locking the shop at night as well, but decided against it because it would inconvenience those on shift work who dropped in on their way home.

“Besides, if we lock the shop the next thing they’ll do is break the window or door to get in,” Andrea said.

Andrea was more concerned about the stolen cash cassettes, which could cost more than $500 to replace.

“They’re not things that are readily available so I don’t have a price yet, but we have insurance.

“It’s a bit of a nuisance really.”

In the meantime the Weirs have transferred the cash cassettes from the shop’s bottle dispenser into the raw milk machine to keep the business running.

“People will need to ring if they need extra bottles, but it was the better option of machines to be out of action,” Andrea said.

The burglary had been reported to police, she said.

A police spokeswoman said they were investigating the incident, which included reviewing the security camera footage.

The delay in details being issued on the proposed dairy reduction scheme is “playing with the futures” of farm families, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

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