Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Quad bike thefts start earlier than expected

Stolen bike sellers could target the farmers they sold them to, stealing the bike back along with other farm equipment. Photo / Thinkstock
Stolen bike sellers could target the farmers they sold them to, stealing the bike back along with other farm equipment. Photo / Thinkstock

A spate of quad bike thefts in Waikato has come earlier than expected this year.

Police often deal with complaints about stolen bikes near the start of June, when farm workers are due to start work on new farms - many of which now require workers to supply their own vehicle.

But police say the thefts have come early this year, with more than a dozen quad and farm bikes reported stolen in the Waikato region in the last two weeks.

Hamilton police tactical coordinator Senior Sergeant Freda Grace said police were keeping an open mind about whether any of the thefts were linked, and the likely end use of the vehicles.

Last Monday, a quad bike chained to a farm shed on a property near Morrinsville was stolen.

Then early on Friday morning, a Kawasaki quad bike was stolen from a farm near Matamata.

On the same day, three dirt bikes including a Husqvarna 650cc bike, valued at $6000, and two Suzuki 200cc bikes were taken from a padlocked container on a Mangateparu property.

In Te Kauwhata, about 10 farm vehicles have been taken from properties in recent days.

Rural residents were not the only victims, with a Hamilton business also being targeted.

On Monday, a worker at a commercial property on Te Rapa Rd found a locked shed had been forced open.

Two relatively rare vehicles had been stolen - a 2009 Yamaha Raptor special edition quad bike with only 18km on the clock, which was worth about $9000, and a 2010 yellow Suzuki RM125 motor-cross bike, worth about $5000.

The Suzuki had the tip of its clutch handle broken off and had recently undergone an engine rebuild.

Ms Grace said police wanted to hear from anyone who had been offered a deal on a farm vehicle that seemed too good to be true.

Stolen bike sellers could target the farmers they sold them to, stealing the bike back along with other farm equipment.

"Receiving stolen goods not only puts you at risk of prosecution it places you at risk of also becoming a victim, not to mention costing us all in increased insurance premiums."

Ms Grace said quad bikes were also used by cannabis growers.

She called on farmers to look out for suspicious vehicles in or around properties.

Ms Grace said anyone with information on the thefts, or who has seen any suspicious activity, should contact police.

She urged owners to secure their farm vehicles by locking them away out of sight, and removing the keys from the ignition.

"A moment's inconvenience can mean the difference between keeping your valuable investment and it coming into the clutches of dishonest, opportunistic thieves."

- APNZ

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