Faux gar­den­ers: stay out of for­est

Steve Bul­lock is the area com­man­der for Taupo po­lice, which en­com­passes Taupo, Tu­rangi, Toko­roa, Pu­taruru and Man­gakino po­lice sta­tions and ar­eas. This month he talks about il­le­gal grow­ing, poach­ing and other un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ties that seem to be pop­u­lar th

South Waikato News - - OPIN­ION / KI O¯KU NEI WHAKAARO -

I have just blinked and missed Jan­uary, where did that time go?

All I can re­mem­ber is that there was lit­tle or no rain for most of the month and we now sell al­co­hol in yel­low bags with some very re­spon­si­ble key mes­sages on them.

Great ini­tia­tive and thanks to the re­tail­ers who are spreading the word.

For the pur­chasers please take time to read the mes­sages, prefer­ably be­fore you open the con­tents.

The warm weather at this time means we have a slice of our com­mu­nity who feel the need to be all agri­cul­tural and gar­deny. That’s right, they spend an in­creased amount of time un­law­fully in our forests grow­ing cannabis.

Some even have the cheek to pose as hunters, com­plete with dogs.

Call me old-fash­ioned but if these guys spent this much time and ef­fort in a real job they would prob­a­bly get a bet­ter re­turn with no risk.

Apart from em­bark­ing on crim­i­nal en­ter­prise they dam­age prop­erty and put them­selves and oth­ers at ex­treme risk. It is only a mat­ter of time be­fore one or more of these idiots puts our whole com­mu­nity in dan­ger due to a fire. Mark my words. On the poacher front we are con­tin­u­ing to be proac­tive and are work­ing with forestry and farm­ing part­ners.

As I have ex­plained be­fore we now have new harsher penal­ties and I can as­sure you that po­lice will make ev­ery en­deav­our to law­fully seize and im­pound any and all ve­hi­cles used in the com­mis­sion of this of­fence.

I don’t care if you are a ‘ gar­dener’ or a poacher the mes­sage is sim­ple: stay out of our forests.

If you are feel­ing like me and have a gutsful of these idiots give us a call, on 0800 Crimestop­pers if you want, but please call.

I was at the coun­cil last week in­tro­duc­ing the new Bay of Plenty Po­lice District Com­man­der to our mayor.

We got talk­ing about our com­mu­nity and its past, the highs and lows and in par­tic­u­lar pub­lic place vi­o­lence.

Talk­ing about the old days caused me to re­flect on just how far we have come in a very short time.

As a new boy in blue dur­ing 1991 I can re­call at­tend­ing a 40- man brawl in the Trees Tav­ern carpark, com­plete with ham­mers and shov­els.

I re­mem­ber my sergeant di­rect­ing me to stand back and wait un­til it died down.

Sure enough it died down and we set about ar­rest­ing the main play­ers.

Thanks to the work of po­lice, coun­cil and com­mu­nity, we now have a far more re­spon­si­ble drink­ing cul­ture.

We are not there yet, but we are cer­tainly miles away from 1991, and good miles at that.

Last month I talked about own­er­ship and asked for peo­ple to speak up.

To those of you who have, I want to say a huge thanks.

We con­tinue to get good in­for­ma­tion about all sorts of things, in­clud­ing the scourge that is syn­thetic cannabis or what­ever they call it now.

Not want­ing to bang on about this but please, please hear me when I say that there is noth­ing good about this crap.

It is ad­dic­tive and makes peo­ple dan­ger­ous – to you, to us and to them­selves.

If you know who is deal­ing this mis­ery then call us. You will be pre­vent­ing crime for cer­tain.

My thumbs down this month goes to those who con­tinue to abuse the dis­abil­ity carparks.

Be­ing lazy and ig­no­rant of the law is not a dis­abil­ity.

Show some re­spect, if not for your­self, then for those who are gen­uinely dis­abled.

For those of you who do not wish to heed the moral as­pect of this sit­u­a­tion, I can ad­vise that any per­son un­law­fully park­ing in a dis­abled carpark is li­able to a Sta­tion­ary In­fringe­ment No­tice which will cost $150.

Dis­abled carparks are the ones usu­ally clos­est to the store, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, and are sign­posted and marked with yel­low paint.

You have been warned, so please do not feign hurt or per­sonal at­tack when one of my of­fi­cers writes you out a no­tice.

Un­til next month, be safe, feel safe and en­joy sum­mer.

Steve Bul­lock

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