'Tell him of the fear my family has': Dairy owner to face teen ram-raider and family

Sangeet Mehta. Photo: Supplied
Sangeet Mehta. Photo: Supplied
Canterbury dairy owner Sangeet Mehta will face one of the teenagers who ram-raided his shop at a family group conference next week - and he will tell him exactly what he thinks.

“I will tell him of the fear my family has of being robbed again, how we can’t sleep and of the mental health problems we have,” Mehta said.

Mehta’s dairy in Prebbleton has been struck four times in recent months by ram-raiders and armed robbers. He has had enough.

The latest raid was in late August when teenagers - the youngest who has been identified as 10 - burst into the shop armed with a spanner.

They tried to strike his wife, but she avoided the blows by pushing a Covid screen at the offender.

Their toddler was in the back of the shop. Mehta was visiting a patient at Christchurch Hospital at the time.

The family group conference will involve a 13-year-old, believed to be from New Brighton, who was involved in one of the ram-raids, and the teenager’s family.

Mehta believes judges and the justice system should be tougher on young offenders.

The Prebbleton Dairy. Photo: George Heard / NZ Herald
The Prebbleton Dairy. Photo: George Heard / NZ Herald
He did not have a lot of faith in the family group conference, but would still go to tell the 13-year-old and his family how the ram-raids and robberies had affected him.

Mehta said he would like to get out of the business, but selling in the current environment is difficult. He had no option but to stay open.

“If I shut down, how can I feed my family? It is not simple for me to do something else.”