Police hunt for stolen digger

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 10:42 17/01/2014

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Thieves who stole 1.7-tonne digger and a trailer may have taken it on a cross-country road trip.

Police are calling for witnesses to a brazen theft where offenders made off with a trailer and digger worth about $35,000 from near Feilding.

Thieves stole a red Kubota digger and a trailer, which was on loan from Feilding Hire Ltd, after breaking a padlock on a gate into a paddock, attaching the trailer carrying the digger to their own vehicle and taking off.

Thieves raided the farm on State Highway 3, in Awahuri near Feilding, on Wednesday night or early yesterday morning, Feilding Sergeant David Burmeister said.

The tandem trailer has since been found in Waikato, a four-hour drive from Awahuri, but the digger was yet to be located.

Police were keen to hear from anyone who was in the area on the night and who may have seen the theft occur or seen the trailer towing a red digger recently.

The thieves would not have keys to the digger, so would need to find an alternative means to operate it, Mr Burmeister said.

''We've had a few like this which have tried to be stolen in the past,'' he said.

''It may have been opportunist, it may have been targeted, we just don't know, but enquiries are continuing.''

Last year, a number of diggers were targeted in overnight theft attempts around Manawatu.

In June, thieves scaled Machinery Specialists' 3-metre-high barbed wire fence, took a van and trailer to steal a red Takeuchi 1.8-tonne digger, worth about $45,000, from the Rangitikei Line, in Palmerston North.

Another digger was stolen days later from outside a residential address at Shelton Place in Feilding and in a third attempted burglary, thieves were thwarted when they tried to take a digger outside a house on Dixons Line, near Bunnythorpe, but residents heard noise when the thieves vehicle broke down, forcing them to unload and flee.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Feilding police on 06 323 6363 or call the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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