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Rustling, cannabis and theft mark the rural crime season

Media Release

FREEPHONE 0800 327 646 I WEBSITE WWW.FEDFARM.ORG.NZ 

15 January 2014

Rustling, cannabis and theft mark the rural crime season

Federated Farmers is urging farmers to report stock theft and rural crime while keeping an eye out for cannabis growers.

“Stock theft or rustling has been estimated to cost the farming community some $120 million each year,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson.

“Rustling is underhanded as a stolen animal may have been specifically bred from a line of genetics making it pretty much irreplaceable.  Aside from taking food off any farmers’ table, if the animal is part of a farm’s capital breeding stock, it becomes a double kick in the guts.

“At this time of the year we are in the perfect rural crime storm.  Illicit cannabis growers are at work, the rustlers are hitting farms and we expect equipment and even fuel theft.  I have no doubt in some cases the three are interrelated.

“When you are dealing in the black economy the norms of good behaviour go out the window while a nasty self-interest creeps on in. 

“At this time of the year cannabis growers will focus on back country areas by planting among crops which can mask plantations from all but the air.  They’ll actively use cultivated land because it provides the best environment for a crop that no farmer wants.

"Unlike previous years there are now tools for our rural communities to fight back with.

“First, there’s the ‘Stop Stock Theft’ website partnership comprising Crimestoppers NZ, NZX-Agri and the Police.  It allows victims to report stock theft anonymously to help the Police to build up intelligence on when and where the theft took place and what stock was taken.

"Farmers should also report all crimes to the Police, especially that involving farm equipment and fuel.

“We can help the Police by being its local eyes and ears.  If you or your staff see something that does not look right then please take down the vehicle registration number and if possible, a description of the occupants.

"Farmers can provide information anonymously through the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.  If anyone feels as if they or their family may be in danger then do not hesitate to call 111.

“I would encourage members of Federated Farmers to speak to their provincial executives about the role Federated Farmers could play locally.  Many of our local AGM’s are coming up in the next few months providing a place to flesh this out.

“With tools like ‘Stop Stock Theft’ and by farmers reporting crimes and suspicious behaviour, we can make our rural communities safer at this time of the year,” Katie Milne concluded.

ENDS

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