News / Community / 6th July 2023
Farmers want action on rural crime
A spike in rural theft in the Baradine district is testing the patience of farmers.
Local property owners have voiced their anger and frustration over an apparent increase in machinery and equipment theft worth thousands of dollars.
Farm bikes, chain saws, generators and other valuable equipment have been stolen from properties in past months.
Grazier, Stephen Pentes said he is shocked and angered by the daring nature of the thieves, who recently took equipment from his Teridgerie property.
“I was woken up in the early hours of the morning with my dogs barking, but, when I went to investigate, I could not see anything out of the ordinary. But, in the morning, I realised thieves had cut the fence and taken my four-wheeled farm bike, chain saw, tools and equipment,” Mr Pentes said.
“I could not believe it; it has made me very angry.
“I am now worried that they may return and what they could take next time.
“There is no doubt that they are game and seem to be getting away with it.”
Mr Pentes said although he will be installing security cameras and exterior lights at his sheds, he doubts it will be a strong enough deterrent.
“Locking sheds and putting padlocks and chains on gates means nothing to these people; they have the gear to remove it – but what else can you do?” he added.
“It is heartbreaking to work hard for so many years only to have it taken away in one night.”
Baradine farmer, Jon Masman has had a quad bike taken from his property.
“The thieves apparently walked into the farm and drove the bike out – it is worth $10,000,” Mr Masman said.
“Gates were locked, but it does not take much to cut a fence; it makes me sick in the stomach.
“The police have been pretty good, but they are limited in what they can do. I think we are reaching a time when it will be necessary to install security cameras at all farms.”
Another victim of rural theft, property owner Ted Hayman agrees that prevention is the only way to reduce the increase in farm robberies.
“If people do not have gates locked and if there is no CCTV in operation or signs warning that there is, the criminals will not be deterred and farmers will continue to be targeted,” Mr Hayman said.
“One of the main problems is that the farms in this area are isolated, often with nobody living there, and this makes them a prime objective for criminals.
“I believe there is an urgent need to improve the way farmers and the police work together at a local level to help reduce rural crime and protect property owners.”
Local police and the Rural Crime Prevention Team encourage farmers to report early and report often, as police rely on timely reporting. If you see something, say something to local police or to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
For more information, visit Rural Crime - NSW Police Public Site.