Struggling farmers targeted by thieves
STRUGGLING farmers are being targeted by thieves for their fuel, farming equipment, tools and vehicles.
Chinchilla Police officer-in-charge Andrew Irvine said a property on the outskirts of town had had 400L of fuel stolen from a header on Wednesday, May 6.
Snr Sgt Irvine said the heavy duty harvesting equipment was analysed forensically to see if thieves left any prints or DNA behind.
Criminals also raided a Chinchilla Tara Rd property taking off with a one of kind buggy, petrol/water pumps, and a large dozer battery between Saturday and Monday, May 4.
A Chinchilla Police spokesman said the victim had done the right thing by locking his possessions in a shed, although the thieves forced entry by breaking a padlock.
“There were a number of items stolen, a HQ Holden ute that had been converted into an open-style buggy… it’s likely to be 30+ years old and mostly used for farm work - not on road travel” he said.
“Also two Honda water pumps and a dozer battery were stolen.”
The theft highlights a warning from Chinchilla Neighbourhood Watch warning property owners that thieves were targetting larger properties and looking for diesel, tools and farm vehicles.
“Police are seeking support from our farmers where possible to secure their equipment and isolate access to the fuel dumps to minimise the risk of offenders accessing and siphoning diesel from their supplies,” the statement read.
“Now more than ever is the time to remain vigilant, not just in the busy hub of Chinchilla township but for our struggling farmers also.
The rise in thefts from rural properties could be related to COVID-19, according to the statement, as some people are struggling financially.
“Offenders are motivated during this pandemic that has manifested into financial issues for the broader community, this does not in any way excuse the criminal behaviours that we police,” the Neighbourhood Watch statement read.
“... unfortunately in today’s society and demographic, this is the new “norm” for us all.”
Although rural properties have been hit harder by thieves the good news is that there has been a reduction in property offences in town.
“The previous seven days have seen a drastic reduction in property offences for the Chinchilla Police Division,” the statement read.
“This can be attributed to the excellent efforts of the community locking their houses and cars and keeping valuables out of clear sight.