'Weird' milk theft baffles dairy farmers

By Gerald Ford gerald.ford@age.co.nz -
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Thieves took two air compressors, a chainsaw, and 1000 litres of milk from a Wairarapa dairy farm late last week. PHOTO/FILE
Thieves took two air compressors, a chainsaw, and 1000 litres of milk from a Wairarapa dairy farm late last week. PHOTO/FILE

DAIRY farmers at Mangatainoka are mystified by the theft of 1000 litres of milk.

Paula Tamainu-De Graaff made an appeal for information on a Wairarapa Facebook page for buying and selling.

Ms Tamainu-De Graaff said the theft occurred on Thursday night or early Friday morning from a vat at the farm where she lives.

Two air compressors were also stolen from sheds nearby and a chainsaw from the garage attached to Ms Tamainu-De Graaff and her partner's house.

The couple were away from home at the time.

Ms Tamainu-De Graaff said a light coloured Toyota Hilux ute had been seen on the farm's tanker track, with "two blue barrels on the back" -- which might be connected to the theft.

"It would have had to be at night, to get that much out," she said.

"We haven't heard of anyone round here getting all their milk stolen. To take the milk is a bit weird."

Ms Tamainu-De Graaff said there was no sign that anyone had tried to break into their house and a quad bike with the key in it was not removed.

"It's a weird theft. I find it strange that they didn't take anything else," she added.

The burglars "made a real mess at the shed" and in the drug room which contained penicillin and antibiotics among other items.

She is uncertain whether any of these supplies had been taken.

One possible use of the high amount of milk would be "someone who rears pigs", Ms De Graaff said.

Wairarapa Federated Farmers Dairy section chairman Chris Engel said he had never heard of milk being stolen from a dairy farm.

"I thought we couldn't give it away.

"Calves are all weaned, the only thing I can think of is pigs ... I find it very strange.

"You can start to think of malicious things ... but that's another ballgame."

Mr Engel said a thief would have "to be organised" to be able to remove that amount of milk from a farm.

He calculated it might be worth $400 to a dairy farmer -- relatively low "for all the risks involved".

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