Rustling victims plead for action

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 20/06/2014
rustle
LAIRD HARPER/FAIRFAX NZ
Marie and Noel Scobie have enlisted the help of a private investigator and security cameras to stop stock rustlers.

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A far-flung Taranaki cockie being fleeced by stock rustlers says police need to do more to protect farmers' property and livelihood.

Noel Scobie said since moving to his 445ha hill country farm near Toko in 2009 he had lost about $100,000 worth of stock.

Scobie said exactly how the animals, including sheep and cows, were taken remained a mystery and that's why he needed support from the authorities and the rural community.

He said all too often police either didn't show up or wouldn't take him seriously.

"They didn't even want to know what I had to say about it."

Mangamingi farmer Joe Menzies said it highlighted the need to get a proper rural copper back on the beat.

Menzies, who heard about the Scobies' plight while helping them shore up their fences, said if farmers couldn't rely on the police to do their job, some could take matters into their own hands.

"And that's not what we want," he said.

Menzies said while the police needed to spearhead any operation, it was up to the rural community to get in behind it.

"I think the idea of just having security cameras, neighbourhood watches and all that stuff is useless without a good, solid rural cop behind it.

"Because at the moment you could spend tens of thousands of dollars on the best security and then ring the cops and get sent a victim support form."

Stratford senior constable Jono Erwood said police had taken those concerns on board and would begin a rural neighbour support group with one co-ordinator.

He said farmers also needed to report all thefts, no matter how small, because it could be connected to a larger operation.

"We need to be able to capture that to form a pattern and create evidence in order to tap out a search warrant, and go and kick some doors down."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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