Rustlers caught on camera

By Kathryn King


Nine months after they installed cameras along their road, members of the Rangitatau East Road Community Group have their first prosecution.

At the end of last year, members of the community group, made up of about two dozen residents of the road, chipped in to pay for the installation of a number of fixed and mobile cameras following ongoing issues with poachers.

The cameras were installed in late December/January and numerous signs were erected, warning of their presence.

After some successes in issuing trespass notices using footage from the cameras, community group member Richard Turner said security footage had recently resulted in their first arrest after two deer were killed by spotlighters on the evening of August 23.

One of the animals was on private property, the other was on the roadside.

Two men have been charged with the theft of the animals and firearms offences.

Waverley constable and former rural liaison officer Allan Spooner was involved in the community group's plans to install the security cameras.

Mr Spooner said any thefts, firearms offences or unlawful taking of animals along the road were going to be a high risk for offenders.

"They [the cameras] have already proven to be successful, and police will prosecute."

Poaching was a major problem throughout the district and this highlighted what positive action could achieve, he said.

Elsewhere in the district, John Churton said he had installed cameras after 35 pregnant dairy cows were stolen from his Otaranoho Rd property in Jerusalem in July.

Mr Churton said the stock was worth about $40,000, and vehicle marks were visible near the loading ramp where they had been loaded on to a truck and taken away.

He had reported the matter to police and wanted to warn other farm owners in the area that rustling was happening.

His sentiments were shared by Vaughan Cameron, who farms at the lower end of the Parapara Rd and said he installed cameras and alarms around his property after two of his working dogs were stolen.

He knew many of the local farmers in the area had seen thousands of dollars worth of stock go missing, and seen a lot of dumped carcasses, including those of pregnant sheep.

There had always been a problem with poaching there but it had become worse over the past year or so, and people needed to be aware, he said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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