Night raiders caught in the act

SONITA CHANDAR
Last updated 13:48 25/08/2014
poachers

POACHING: Two men carrying rifles leave the farm with loaded backpacks.

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A Tararua victim of stock rustling and poaching had his security cameras stolen after police showed photos of alleged rustlers around sporting goods shops.

The theft is just one incident of many that have recently occurred in a small community where several farmers have had stock go missing.

Farmers were willing to share their stories but did not wish to have their names published for fear of retaliation.

Frustrated at being the target of stock rustlers and trespassing hunters, a farmer and his son installed surveillance cameras in trees earlier this year.

''We bought the most expensive cameras available at the time, along with all the gear needed to run them. The cameras were infrared and took clear images of people and vehicles coming and going.''

Some men captured by the camera were visiting the farm four times a week, often leaving with deer.

''We could see everything except the licence plates of their vehicles because the brake lights stopped us getting a reading.''

The farmer said he took photos to local police who told him that without the car registration they were powerless to do anything.

However, on another occasion when he did provide a licence plate number, he was told it did not prove anything.

Police also took the surveillance photos to sporting goods shops for help with identification.

''Within a week, the cameras were gone,'' the farmer said. ''The buggers would have needed a ladder because we did when we installed them. They cut through four wire ropes to get them down.''.

The cameras were useless to anyone else as they were password-encoded.

Police said they did not believe the thieves were locals as no-one appeared to recognise them.

''I do find that a bit hard to swallow. These guys must be local for the cameras to disappear. I don't see why anybody would travel a couple of hours from Palmerston North or Hawke's Bay to go shooting.'' 

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