17 Oct 2017

Poacher warning for farmers

2:04 pm on 17 October 2017

The police are urging farmers to be on the look out for stock thieves and poachers over the long weekend.


Photo: courtesy Beef and Lamb NZ

Police on the east coast of the North Island are putting out more patrols and checkpoints from Northern Hawkes Bay to Gisborne, in an effort to crack down on any illegal activity.

Constable Chad Prentice said Labour Weekend was a busy time for rural crime.

"This is the weekend when there's generally a lot of pig hunting competitions around the country and it's hard to get access so people are breaking into forests to get access to the pigs.

"It becomes like a catalyst occurrence that branches into other offending like wilful damages, fuel theft, stock theft and everything else."

Police on the east coast had seen spikes in offending over Labour Weekend for several years, and last year had a similar operation, Mr Prentice said.

"This time we want to get it out that we are out there, we are aware of what's happening, and we want to prevent it from happening."

Farmers needed to be vigilant with their property and keep a close eye out for suspicious behaviour, he said.

"Ensuring that all your tractors are put away because there's items such as batteries that seem to get pinched from vehicles.

"Fuel bowsers get ripped off because people go further than they were intending to when hunting ... as well as motor bikes and other things like that."

Fines can be up to $100,000 and two years in prison, and police can take any hunting-related items including firearms, knives, dogs, GPS units and vehicles.

If farmers were leaving the property for a long weekend break then they should make sure everything was well locked up and that it looked like someone was home, he said.

Social media could make the problem worse.

"You put something on social media, like Facebook, of a big pig or a great story and it can generate quite a lot of attention...

"It means that people from far and wide look at it, get envious, and then think, 'Geez I'd like to get in on that action', then decide to travel and have a go themselves."

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