Wood thieves hit

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - PA­TRICK GEE

DER­WENT Val­ley prop­er­ties are be­ing hit hard by an on­slaught of re­lent­less wood thieves and van­dals — and res­i­dents say they have had enough.

Up to 70 tonnes of wood and more than $10,000 worth of fenc­ing ma­te­ri­als have been stolen from one Gretna prop­erty alone.

Oliver Son­ners, man­ager of the sheep farm­ing prop­erty at Gretna, said around 50 trees were il­le­gally felled last week.

“I saw three cars go­ing out, there was a red ute with a trailer tak­ing about three tonnes with him and there were three young blokes with a white four­wheel drive,” Mr Son­ners said.

Se­nior Con­sta­ble Peter Gib­son from the Bushy Park po­lice sta­tion at­tended the prop­erty on Saturday and spoke to two peo­ple who were on the land.

New Nor­folk Sergeant Chris Hey said the de­tails of the peo­ple were ob­tained and in­quiries were con­tin­u­ing into the mat­ter as well as other re­cent re­ports of il­le­gal tree felling.

“New Nor­folk po­lice have re­cently met with other stake­hold­ers ... in the Hamil­ton and Bushy Park ar­eas, to dis­cuss and strate­gise on how to be more proac­tive and vig­i­lant in pre­vent­ing this type of be­hav­iour,” he said.

The two peo­ple in­volved in the in­ci­dent last week were not lo­cal res­i­dents and fur­ther in­quiries are con­tin­u­ing with the view of pros­e­cu­tions.

Hamil­ton woman Bar­bara Hig­gins said her part­ner had 15 tonnes of wood stolen from his prop­erty last year.

She said she was aware of at least five other farm­ers who have been tar­geted.

“He is 79 this year so he can’t go and cut an­other 15 tonne of wood ... so when peo­ple steal it from you it’s just dis­heart­en­ing,” she said.

Mrs Hig­gins said peo­ple came and went from the area with loads of wood ev­ery week­end.

“The peo­ple they sell it to don’t know where that wood has come from or if the driver has a li­cense to get the wood,” he said.

Mr Son­ners said the thieves had also stolen and van­dalised huge amounts of fenc­ing and gates.

“I’ve had prob­a­bly two to three kilo­me­tres of fence stolen,” he said.

“I put up a new fence and that was all gone the next day.”

Mr Son­ners said the thefts and dam­ages were affecting his busi­ness.

He met with Norske Skog rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Saturday who dis­cussed in­stalling se­cu­rity cam­eras in the area.

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