Even pumpkins aren’t safe from rural crime

Gooloogong farmer John Nelligan and Detective Sean Beckett from the Canobolas Rural Crime Unit discuss rural crime at the Cowra Saleyards, with Detective Beckett enouraging any victims of theft to report it.Rural theft was the topic of conversation at Cowra Saleyards last week, with Detective Sean Beckett from the Canobolas Rural Crime Unit making a routine appearance.

Covering everything from illegal hunting and animal cruelty to machinery and stock theft, Detective Beckett said rural crime is on the rise.

“Rural crime is rife; people will steal anything they can get their hands on,” he said.

From quad bikes and tractors to chemicals and seed, Detective Beckett said nothing’s safe.

“In the drought we had a lot of water thefts from dams and tanks. People steal chemicals, tractors, seed; they’ll just go into machinery sheds and take anything they can,” he said.

“A lot of cockies won’t report it but they should.”

Detective Beckett said illegal hunting and animal cruelty are also on their radar.

“People sometimes have these pig dogs that they use to steal stock and are treated cruelly so we’re targeting that, along with illegal hunting,” he said.

While large-scale livestock theft rarely goes unreported, Detective Beckett encouraged all incidents to be officially documented.

“Someone will steal a few lambs and they go sell them to their mates and they’ll go get them butchered and then they’ll do it again. These need to be reported,” he said.

Having had everything from tractors, chemical, generators and seed stolen over the years, Gooloogong farmer John Nelligan said one act was a particularly low blow.

“They came in and stole a whole paddocks worth of pumpkins- my oath, they’ll steal whatever they can,” he said.

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