Don’t give crime a free ride

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SARAH DEAN

A re­cent spate of petrol drive-offs in Ruther­glen and around the re­gion has prompted po­lice and Ruther­glen Neigh­bour­hood Watch to hold a Safe Plate Day on July 9.

The idea is to re­place the screws on ve­hi­cle num­ber plates with anti-theft ones, which can­not be re­moved with­out the use of a spe­cific tool.

It can be done for a gold coin do­na­tion and a few min­utes of your time.

The Safe Plate Day will be held on Sun­day, July 9 in the IGA car park in Ruther­glen dur­ing the Ruther­glen Farm­ers Mar­ket Day, be­tween 9am and 12.30pm.

Ruther­glen Neigh­bour­hood Watch area co­or­di­na­tor Neil Michael urged res­i­dents to at­tend af­ter reports of three petrol drive-offs at the Shell in the main street in the past month.

Stolen num­ber plates were used in each in­ci­dent.

“Po­lice have told us that the num­ber plates were not stolen from around here, but they could eas­ily be at any stage and we need to pro­tect our­selves,” Mr Michael said.

“There has also been a con­sid­er­able num­ber of petrol drive-offs in the Al­bury and Wodonga area.

“We are ask­ing res­i­dents to take ad­van­tage of this ini­tia­tive.”

Po­lice from both Al­bury and Wodonga will at­tend on the day to help re­place the screws with anti-theft ones.

Ruther­glen Po­lice Sergeant Brian Cur­ran said the rise in petrol drive-offs was be­com­ing a ma­jor prob­lem for po­lice, with stolen plates also be­ing used for other crimes such as rob­beries and drug re­lated crimes.

Sgt Cur­ran said if res­i­dents could not make it on July 9, they could take their ve­hi­cle to their me­chanic and ask for the anti-theft screws for a gold coin do­na­tion.

Mean­while, Mr Michael is hop­ing to at­tract more res­i­dents to the Ruther­glen Neigh­bour­hood Watch group, which is short on num­bers.

The group has just four ac­tive mem­bers but there are 41 res­i­dents who help de­liver the monthly news­let­ter.

“We would like to get more peo­ple along to our meet­ings; we had be­tween 30 and 40 peo­ple when the group was first es­tab­lished about 30 years ago,” Mr Michael said.

The group meets bi-monthly on the third Tues­day of each month.

Those in­ter­ested in join­ing the Ruther­glen Neigh­bour­hood Watch group can phone Mr Michael on 0418 126 448.

Ruther­glen Neigh­bour­hood Watch area co-or­di­na­tor Neil Michael is en­cour­ag­ing driv­ers to se­cure their num­ber plates with anti-theft screws.

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