Mail monsters ‘gutless, heartless, spineless’
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
“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