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Clifflife Church property ‘totally ransacked’ in late-night raid

Pastor Jason Malcolm says the church has built up a good rapport with the community over the past seven years. Photo /...

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Pastor Jason Malcolm says the church has built up a good rapport with the community over the past seven years. Photo / Bevan Conley

The pastor of Clifflife Church has been left feeling frustrated after items were stolen and parts of the property “totally ransacked”.

“I think we have a really good rapport and we are seen as a positive influence in the community, so it was completely out of the blue,” Jason Malcolm said.

“We’ve got a shipping container that was filled with all sorts of stuff we had put aside to use on a weekly basis or on a special occasion.”

A gazebo, a baptism pool, new heaters and sleeping bags, Sunday School supplies, scooters, and a children’s playground were among the items stolen from the church on Rangiora St on Monday night.

“Those sleeping bags were for people sleeping in their cars or on the street,” Malcolm said.

“There’s just too much stuff [taken] for it to be one person. The fence is high as well, it would be close to two metres tall.”

Police were alerted at around 10pm on Monday and inquiries were still ongoing.

“It looks like the offenders have gained entry to the yard, gained access to the container, and allegedly stolen items from it,” a spokesperson said.

Scaffolding being used in the construction of a house on the property may have been stolen earlier in the day, the spokesperson said.

Malcolm said the church had been operating for the past seven years and had “never even asked someone for a dollar for a sausage sizzle”.

“In our service, we don’t even have an offering. There’s just a box down the back and we don’t even mention giving.

“The whole idea for us going out there was not to take from the community but to be a blessing.”

The scaffolding belonged to the person building the house, Malcolm said.

“He’s a small business, and with housing shortages and all that we just said he could use it [the property]. They’ve done him in too.”

Malcolm said equipment that wasn’t stolen had been trashed.

“Why would you do that?

“It’s just mind-boggling. For us, it’s quite a significant amount.”

Church-run skate competitions had resulted in thousands of dollars worth of bikes, scooters and clothing being given out to the community, Malcolm said.

“We turn our church into a photo studio for people who can’t afford family portraits, and you can just rock up for a 15-minute slot. It’s all edited and a week later it’s dropped off to your door, no strings attached.”

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