Police made me wait seven hours: barber
PARKWAY Barbershop owner Kevin Shiels usually empties his cash register each night, but he didn't last Wednesday because ill health had forced him to close and go home early.
Unfortunately, thieves cruising Grafton's CBD chose that night to smash the glass door to Mr Shiels' barbershop and steal his cash register.
Mr Shiels was understandably riled by the theft but it was the seven hours spent waiting for police to arrive and examine the crime scene the next day which really made him angry.
Police had already been alerted to the break-in by security officers and visited Mr Shiels' shop around 6am, a couple of hours before he arrived for work.
But Mr Shiels claimed police had told security they would return at 8.30am to speak with him and carry out further investigations.
"I waited and waited before calling them about nine o'clock to find out what was happening," he said.
"They told me not to disturb anything, just to write down what was missing and that they wouldn't be too far away.
"Then I called again at 11 o'clock and I got a fella who just told me to sweep everything up and open the shop.
"I made my last call at 2.30 and said 'look, you're treating me like a piece of dirt here', it was like I was annoying them."
Clarence MP Steve Cansdell has heard Mr Shiels' story and believes it is the shortage of police officers in the Clarence Valley that is leaving some local residents dissatisfied with the local police service.
But Clarence-Coffs Local Area Command commander Paul Fehon said more pressing matters had kept police from visiting Mr Shiels in the morning.
"Police had already made sure there were no offenders in the area, that the premises could be properly secured," he said.
"They maintained telephone contact with the owner of the premises during the day as police were actually tied up with saving the life of someone at the time, so that was very particular."