A man charged with a rural burglary under new legislation introduced this year has made a brief appearance in Whangārei District Court.

Conlyn Parekura, of Murupara in the Bay of Plenty, appeared yesterday on one charge of entering on to land for agricultural purposes without authority in the Kaingaroa Forest on May 16.

He also faces two charges of failing to stop, assaulting a police sergeant with a car as a weapon, escaping police custody and reckless driving, all relating to incidents in Murupara and Rotorua between May 16 and July 2.

He was remanded in custody to appear in Whangārei Court again on Monday, with the charges likely to be transferred to Rotorua District Court.

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The Crimes Amendment Bill, which was passed unanimously by Parliament in March this year, was the offence of unlawful entry on agricultural land with the intent to steal livestock or to act unlawfully against specified things such as buildings or machinery on that land — a crime that could see the offender put behind bars for up to a decade.

It makes it the same penalty as for the burglary of a dwelling or business.

Also passed was a law making the theft of livestock or any other animal, including beehives and farm dogs, an offence liable for up to seven years in prison.

Equipment used in the course of the offending - including vehicles used at the time or later purchased from proceeds - will be subject to forfeiture under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.

When the laws were introduced Northland police Inspector Christopher McLellan, who was the district prevention manager, said police took all crimes, including the theft of livestock and property in rural areas, seriously.

"We do receive reports from our farming communities of stock theft and the killing of stock, and we view this as an offence and ensure we follow it up accordingly and follow up lines of inquiry."

He said it was essential these crimes were reported in order for police to investigate.

"We have really strong farming communities up here in Northland, and we encourage people to look after themselves and their neighbours and report anything suspicious in their area."

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