Volunteers at Tasmania's largest bushfire refuge say thieves
stole handbags and fuel in the chaos of the disaster.
The refuge at the Nubeena civic centre on the Tasman
Peninsula housed as many as 2000 people fleeing fires at the
height of the crisis.
Many left private and hire cars behind when they were
evacuated by boat at the weekend.
Nubeena local Graeme Parremore, who has been using his
crayfish delivery truck to take urgent supplies to residents
around the peninsula, said petty criminals had targeted the
"There's been a lot of looters stealing handbags and taking
fuel out of cars and boats," he told AAP.
"(They're) just people coming down from Hobart knowing cars
are stuck here, sneaking down, coming across by boat."
Mr Parremore said others had stolen fuel to get their cars
off the peninsula in convoys arranged by police in recent
Another volunteer, Alder Thompson, said she had heard reports
"We lost three handbags in one day, which was not nice," she
"There were a few bad people. I think they were just
Tensions between locals and tourists at Nubeena rose when
some visitors refused to leave, fearing they would be charged
for hire cars or their own vehicles would be damaged.
There were arguments as thousands of people lined up to leave
on boats taking around 200 passengers at a time.
"The biggest relief was lessening the numbers," Mrs Thompson
"Once we could get the evacuees out we could concentrate on
"The locals all thought we were only here for (the visitors)
and we had to put the word out, `no, we're here for
"We said 'please come in and get a meal'. Once we got that
word out it wasn't too bad."
As well as coping with large numbers of people, the
volunteers were beset by a two-day toilet blockage and a
shortage of supplies before the boats brought food and water.
Volunteers have also provided shoulders to cry on as lost
tourists and people who'd lost everything streamed into the
"Some people just needed to have a cry and a quiet word," Mrs
"It was just a matter of being there and giving them a bit of
Police were yet to respond to a request for comment on the