Mail mon­sters ‘gut­less, heart­less, spine­less’

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JOHN RYAN

CA­REER cops who have seen it all have been shocked by a num­ber of vex­a­tious let­ters tar­get­ing farm­ers across the west­ern re­gion over the past week.

In the midst of the worst drought in liv­ing mem­ory, NSW Po­lice Force Ru­ral Crime Pre­ven­tion Team State Co­or­di­na­tor, De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Cameron White­side, said these let­ters are adding to stresses on farm­ers that in many cases are al­ready at dan­ger­ous lev­els.

“It just takes it to a whole new level of dis­gust­ing, to cause the hurt to peo­ple who are al­ready at the low­est point in their lives,” Det. Insp. White­side told Dubbo

Photo News.

“I’ve seen some dis­gust­ing things dur­ing my 31 years with the NSW Po­lice Force but this is up there.

“If any­one knows any­thing, you can re­port it anony­mously to Crime Stop­pers – you don’t have to give your name – in this case the in­for­ma­tion is what’s im­por­tant,” he said.

Prop­erty own­ers as far apart as Dubbo, Peak Hill and Wal­gett have re­ceived un­signed let­ters which re­fer to the cur­rent pro­longed drought con­di­tions and make sug­ges­tions to the vic­tims that they should take the lives of them­selves and their live­stock.

Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saun­ders said he’s ap­palled by this sort of be­hav­iour.

“I think gut­less, heart­less, spine­less are words that spring to mind. This is not the sort of be­hav­iour we ex­pect from any­one in our com­mu­nity,” Mr Saun­ders said.

“I’m not sure why some­body would take this ap­proach to peo­ple who are do­ing it tough through a par­tic­u­larly harsh drought at the mo­ment, so my com­ment would be to cease and de­sist.

A mem­ber of the pub­lic took a let­ter they’d re­ceived in to Mr Saun­ders’ of­fice dur­ing the week, and he re­ferred them to the po­lice. “I sug­gested (they) take that let­ter to the po­lice and hope­fully there will be some way of link­ing them all to­gether, and maybe find out who is do­ing this,” he said.

NSW Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Peter Arkle said the or­gan­i­sa­tion is ad­vis­ing mem­bers to re­port the let­ter im­me­di­ately to the po­lice if they re­ceive one.

“To re­ceive let­ters such as these is dis­tress­ing for farm­ers who are deal­ing with the daily pres­sures of an un­par­al­leled drought and wa­ter short­ages,” Mr Arkle said.

Po­lice be­lieve the let­ters are be­ing hand-de­liv­ered to mail­boxes.

Det. Insp. White­side is urg­ing vic­tims to pho­to­graph and pre­serve the let­ters and en­velopes be­fore mak­ing a re­port to their lo­cal po­lice sta­tion.

“It is ex­tremely im­por­tant that these let­ters are not over-han­dled, both in a phys­i­cal sense and by not dis­clos­ing in­for­ma­tion to fel­low mem­bers of the pub­lic which may im­pact the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Det. Insp. White­side said.

“Vic­tims should re­port the matter to lo­cal po­lice in a very timely man­ner in or­der to in­crease our chances of re­solv­ing the na­ture of these let­ters.

“Any­one who has re­ceived a sim­i­lar let­ter is en­cour­aged to con­tact their lo­cal po­lice sta­tion and re­port the matter,” he said.

Crime Stop­pers can be con­tacted by di­alling 1800 333 000.

If you or some­one you know needs sup­port, 24/7 ser­vices are avail­able:

Life­line 13 11 14 Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 be­yond­blue 1300 22 4636

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