THE Salvation Army has turned to a security camera in a crackdown on dumping at its family store.
The camera at the Lake Rd shop went in about a fortnight ago.
It already has made a difference.
Salvation Army Family Store manager Hazel Barrett said there had been a drop in dumping outside the store since the camera was installed.
The device outside the front door is linked to a monitor in the manager’s office.
Dumping occurs regularly and is worse at weekends.
“Any decent stuff left will be stolen before we open, and the rest is pure rubbish,” Mrs Barrett said.
“Some people think people on welfare will just take anything. They deserve the best we can give them.”
Mrs Barrett said the camera was a deterrent.
Staff arrived at work after the October long weekend to find a cluster of mostly damaged goods at the front door.
The junk included a lounge with a gaping hole and minus a cushion, a broken cupboard, smashed electrical goods and clothes covered in vomit.
“It’s people’s minds that need to change,” she said.
“This is not a dumping ground for rubbish.”
Dumped items had created a health and safety issue for staff, who were faced with sorting through the goods.
The Salvation Army picks up and delivers goods between 9am and 4pm on weekdays.
The Lake Rd premises accepts donations from 8am on weekdays.
All of the money raised through shop sales is spent on Salvation Army projects, including welfare, within the Hastings.
The shop sells everything from furniture to clothes, bric-a-brac and electrical items.
Mrs Barrett said wider socio-economic groups shopped at the store as opportunity shops became fashionable.
She has spotted a Rolls-Royce, stretch limousine and Mercedes-Benz in the car park during the past few months.
More younger people shop for bargains.
Mrs Barrett said the store kept its prices low so the shop was affordable for everyone.
“It gives people their dignity, because they don’t have to go to welfare to get an outfit of clothes,” Mrs Barrett said.
The Salvation Army shops at Port Macquarie and Wauchope have 90 volunteers and staff.