‘Wilky’ vents over cameras

In eight years he and his staff at Challenge in Duke St, Cambridge, have endured three ramraids, three burglaries – and as of last Friday, an armed robbery.

Oh, and there was also the incident where thieves made off with two trailers.

Owner Dave  “Wilky” Wilkinson is a fifth generation Cambridge resident – the family arrived in town in 1888 – who takes great pride in the community. His grandfather Kenneth Wilkinson twice served as mayor of the borough from 1947 to 1962.

He proudly shows his diploma on a wall in his office – a Bachelor of Common Sense from the School of Hard Knocks. And he can’t see the sense in not providing CCTV coverage for Duke Street.

Not for him mind you – he’s got 16 all up overlooking his site, and even considered putting a CCTV camera up for Duke Street before realising cost and privacy laws would get in the way.

Challenge in Duke Street.

He wants the camera for fellow businesses – the like of Noel Leeming and the TAB – New World is at the other end of Anzac St – and is highly critical that Waipā District Council hasn’t come to the party.

Add to that, he says he understands one of the CCTV cameras which are in operation and should pick up number plates will only do so when the light is right.

He’s also hot under the collar about the loss of carparking space in the CBD – but that’s another story.

Wilkinson believes a Duke Street camera would catch criminals on the run.

Two staff were on deck opening up at 5.45am when the armed robbery occurred. A red Mazda pulled up and three passengers, wearing sunglasses and Covid masks got out. They threatened one staff member then got into the building to steal vapes, raid the cash drawer, take cigarette papers, filters and lighters and then, in Wilkinson’s word “tried to trash the place”.

He believes at least one may not have been wearing gloves. The robbers are all thought to be male teenagers.

Wilkinson has pitched for a CCTV camera to cover Duke St without success – and says he would happily pay for the power and provide a site. He doesn’t think the present coverage from the Waikato Expressway along Victoria Street then onto Cook and Shakespeare streets and the Leamington shopping Centre is enough.

And he thinks last week’s robbery at the garage he has been at for 25 years and on the road he has walked for 68  has proved his point that more camera are needed.

Dave Wilkinson want to see a camera installed to cover Duke Street from his garage looking into town, and Anzac Street. Photo: Roy Pilott.


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