Wool bale theft con­cerns VFF chief

Mansfield Courier - - PROPERTY GUIDE -

A WOOL switcheroo in­volv­ing ex­pen­sive wool bales be­ing swapped for in­fe­rior wool is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Vic­to­ria Po­lice.

Buy­ers in China dis­cov­ered that the Aus­tralian ex­ported wool was of poorer qual­ity than ex­pected.

Con­cern has been raised that the in­ci­dent could dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion of the Aus­tralian ex­port in­dus­try.

So far mul­ti­ple bro­kers have re­ported thefts, which have been oc­cur­ring since May.

The thefts are be­lieved to have been car­ried out by switch­ing the high qual­ity wool out of bales for cheaper wool.

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent, David Jochinke, said the episode is alarm­ing.

“We’re re­ally keen to find out who the cul­prits were and how this hap­pened,” Mr Jochinke said.

“In my farm­ing ca­reer I’ve heard of peo­ple steal­ing sheep, I’ve heard of peo­ple go­ing to shear­ing sheds and tak­ing wool but I’ve never heard of it, after the test­ing process, the bales be­ing un­loaded and wool be­ing switched around.”

While the theft was a blow for wool bro­kers, Mr Jochinke said the ef­fect could be worse on the in­dus­try as a whole.

“This could do a lot of dam­age in the long run; those bales could be worth over $2000 each and we’re talk­ing about 18 bales here,” he said.

“The in­fe­rior bale could be worth a few hun­dred dol­lars so the price dif­fer­ence is quite sig­nif­i­cant.”

Vic­to­ria Po­lice De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Jamie Tem­ple­ton said the in­ci­dent is be­ing taken very se­ri­ously as it will af­fect a lot of peo­ple.

“(This is ex­tremely se­ri­ous) not only due to the to­tal value of the wool stolen but also the po­ten­tial dam­age it poses to the Aus­tralian ex­port in­dus­try,” De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Tem­ple­ton said.

“These thefts are in­cred­i­bly dam­ag­ing to the liveli­hood and rep­u­ta­tions of the bro­kers who ex­port this prod­uct.”

Email: info@val­ley­seeds.com www.val­ley­seeds.com

CU­RI­OUS CAPER: Thieves have been swap­ping high qual­ity wool for cheaper wool from wool bales, it was re­cently dis­cov­ered.

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