Potentially vital evidence for a police investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl may have been lost because a security camera removed while the Farmers building was developed has not been reinstalled.
Two weekends ago a girl arrived at Hastings Police Station claiming she had been taken to a park and sexually violated.
Detective Jay Mason said police had not been able to find any CCTV footage that could track the girl's movements through the CBD that night. However, at one point she placed herself outside The Cru Bar, where a white vehicle with a group of men in it was parked in a carpark outside the Farmers building.
A camera once located on the corner of Eastbourne and King Streets would have been in a perfect position to record the vehicle. However, this was removed in mid-2011 to make way for the Farmers development and had not been reinstalled.
Mr Mason was extremely disappointed. "We've missed a big opportunity to get some pretty vital evidence out of that," he said. "It's going to be a community response that is going to resolve this case, if it is going to happen."
Hastings District Council community safety manager Philip Evans said the camera was removed at the start of the construction of the new Farmers premises because the part of the building it was attached to was to be demolished.
"Council has sought permission from Farmers to have the camera reinstalled as the cables run across their property and the camera would need to be located on their building," he said.
Anybody with information on the incident should contact Detective Jay Mason at Hastings Police on 06 873 0500 or call anonymously on the Crimestoppers hotline 0800 555 111.