Haven Rd residents Nick Goody and Otto Barren outside the property that was burgled last week. Photo: Sinead Ogilvie.

Intruder caught in the act


A crime spree was brought to a swift end when two men used their Judo and military skills to catch the suspect red-handed.

The 29 year old man was caught on the roof of the former Haven House Bed and Breakfast at around 9.30pm last Tuesday night, but only after he’d already caused damage to at least two other properties on Haven Rd.

At the first property, which is currently being renovated, he stole tools and tipped out 80 litres of paint over electrical appliances causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. He then went to Pegasus Car rental and broke a window before entering the backpackers next door. Owner Otto Barron says the man broke a second story window, climbed into the bedroom and put all of the valuables in the room into a suitcase and then climbed out another window and onto the roof.

Otto and several of his housemates were home at the time and noticed him when housemate Nick Goody went outside for a smoke and saw a strange bike in the driveway.

“It wasn’t an adult’s bike but not a little kid’s bike, it was just odd that it was there at that time of night so we went to put it in the shed so it was safe and had a bit of a look around,” says Nick.

When Otto went to put the bike in the shed he noticed his bikes had been taken out of it and it was then the pair became suspicious that someone had been on their property. When they walked around the section to see if anything else had been moved, Nick says he saw the man crouching down on the roof. He alerted Otto by whispering his discovery to him and Otto says he confronted the man right away.

“This is my house, my property and we’ve been working for three months to renovate it so I was really annoyed that someone would be sneaking around on the roof. I went straight to him and he told me he had a knife and would stab me if I didn’t back away. I’m a black belt in Judo so I still went at him, he kicked me in the shin and I grabbed him and we came off the roof.”

Nick – a former soldier of the British Army – then put the man in a choke hold and waited while Otto called the police.

Police arrested the man and have since added charges including assault and burglary. The Takaka fisherman, is due to appear in court on September 9.

Otto, also from the UK, says one of the reasons he moved to Nelson was because of its safety but says it was a “once in a blue moon” event.


  1. Lets hope this time it is not a smack on the wrist, “good behavior” bond or community service for what is obviously an experienced thief