Rural crimes seen as part of increasing trend

"These recent incidents are just cowardly. Running sheep down and spoiling baleage is malicious,"...
"These recent incidents are just cowardly. Running sheep down and spoiling baleage is malicious," Luke Kane says. Photo: ODT files
A rural industry spokesman has described recent burglary and vandalism in his patch as "cowardly and malicious", as police continue to hunt the offenders.

Federated Farmers Otago president Luke Kane said the incidents late last month and last weekend, which included deliberately running down sheep, spoiling baleage and theft of items including electric fence reels, were part of a pattern of increasing rural crime in South and West Otago.

The sheep were killed at a farm in Beacon Hill Rd at Wairuna, near Clinton, on May 19 when a vehicle was driven at them in a paddock.

The same property was entered on May 25, and 10 winter feed bales were damaged with a tool, causing them to spoil.

Police said two more farms were targeted in the area on Saturday night, and fences and gates were damaged for entry to be gained.

In Whiteside Rd, several bales were damaged at a farm, while electric fence reels were stolen from a paddock on the Waipahi Highway (State Highway 1).

It was not known what time the incidents took place, as the damage was discovered the following day.

Mr Kane said his Tapanui dairy farm was also burgled about 18 months ago but, despite the increase in crime, blame could not be placed with the police.

"These recent incidents are just cowardly. Running sheep down and spoiling baleage is malicious. I don’t see how anyone wins. It’s plain stupid.

"[You can’t] blame the police. They can’t be everywhere at once. It highlights the need for having good contacts with your neighbours, and maybe sharing resources like video footage of roads and boundaries where a vehicle or individuals could be identified.

"More and more farmers are putting security systems in, which is a step in the right direction."

Four sheep were killed during the crime spree, although police have not been able to confirm the incidents were related.

A police spokesman asked those living in the area to remain vigilant, and secure unmonitored property.

"Police are following active lines of inquiry into the recent burglaries in rural South Otago. No further incidents have been reported since June 9. We would like to thank members of the community for providing information and assistance regarding these events."

Police wanted to hear from anyone with information about any of the incidents, the spokesman said.

This included sightings of suspicious vehicles or people.

• Police: 105, online at 105.police.govt.nz, file number 240519/7760.

 

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