Silence of the goats – in Queenstown


Noisy goats are causing a headache for Queenstown police – their bleating is mistaken for cries for help.

Officers keep getting called out to the Via Ferrata rock climbing cliffs off Gorge Road by people who think nearby goats are people calling for help.

That most recent call-out was on Sunday at 7.30pm.

“It’s the goats bleating,” senior constable Chris Blackford says, “but people think it’s people crying for help after getting stuck on the hillside.

“The officer who received the call at the station asked the person to describe what it sounded like and they said ‘maaahelllpp’ [goat noise].

“It happens now and again. We’ll always send an officer but we always know what it is.”

Busted at dairy

Police arrested a 24-year-old New Zealand man at a Queenstown dairy after a search revealed he was allegedly carrying a knife.

Officers were called to a convenience store on Church Street at 3am by staff who recognised the man as someone they believed had stolen a sandwich from the shop earlier that night. 

“He was arrested in relation to the theft and being in possession of a knife,” Blackford says.

Unprovoked attack
Queenstown police are continuing inquiries following an apparent unprovoked attack in the resort early Saturday.

Sergeant Tracy Haggart says a 21-year-old male was set on by an unknown male on Shotover St at 3.30am on Saturday and knocked unconscious.

The victim was treated at Lakes District Hospital for concussion, a broken nose and a cut to the bridge of this nose.

“The information we have is a van has pulled up on Shotover St and one of the passengers got out and dealt to the male victim,” Haggart says.

“It seems like an unprovoked attack.” 

The alleged offender then got back into the van, believed to be carrying between seven and 11 other passengers, which then travelled towards Wanaka.

Unwanted guest

A 30-year-old Irish man was arrested after making a nuisance of himself at a Queenstown flat.

Officers were called to Fryer St shortly before 3am on Monday.

“There was an unwanted guest who was allegedly behaving in a disorderly manner,” Blackford says.

“He’s described as being confrontational and belligerent. He failed to cooperate with police so earned himself a night’s accommodation in the police station.”

The man was charged with disorderly behaviour.

Cheque fraud
Police are warning shops, hotels and bank staff to be on their guard after an American woman tried to cash a fake $500 cheque.

The elderly woman attempted to use the forged traveller’s cheque at ASB Bank on Camp St on Tuesday afternoon.

When staff spotted inconsistencies, the woman walked out leaving the cheque behind.

A scene-of-crime police officer is now examining it for fingerprints and viewing the bank’s CCTV tapes.

“She’s described as an older American woman,” Blackford says.

“Travellers’ cheques are not all that common any more. Any place that deals with financial transactions, shops, banks and hotels in Queenstown, should be on the lookout.” 

Grim discovery ends search 

A year-long police search for a missing man ended last week when his body was found in a Cromwell caravan.

Simon James Garrick (right), 42, had been missing since he failed to appear before Alexandra District Court in October 2012.

Police offered $20,000 last month for new information about his whereabouts, believing he may have been murdered.

But the mystery was explained last Thursday when a woman, checking her campervan ahead of summer, found a badly decomposed body.

There were signs of a break-in and police believe Garrick had been living in the caravan at the Cromwell Top 10 Holiday Park since his disappearance.

Garrick was formally identified on Tuesday and his family, some based in the Wakatipu, have been informed.

The matter has now been passed to the coroner to determine the cause of death.