$100-a-day drug habits feed local crime

LAST month saw an increase in burglaries and thefts in Toodyay, and two domestic assaults.

One person was charged and police inquiries are continuing into the other matters.
Sgt Conder said drug addiction often led to local crimes of this nature.

“Toodyay is no different to any other town in this state or country,” he said. 

“Drugs are everywhere.

“About 70 per cent of people who use cannabis or methamphetamines (ice or crystal meth) are recreational users’ who others would never guess use drugs.

“They are everyday people with steady jobs – it could be you or your neighbour and nobody else would know. 

“But another 30 per cent are often heavily addicted and use crime to pay for their costly drug habit.” 

Sgt Conder said drug users who became addicts soon found themselves needing to spend up to $100 a day to feed their cravings – and some daily drug users needed even more.

 “Their life, structure and family networks rapidly disappear,” he said. 

“Their marriages break down, they lose their friends, families and jobs, and their children always suffer.

“This usually happens over a short period of time. 

“It’s more a medical problem but because addicted drug users can become violent or desperate to get money to buy more drugs, that’s when police become involved from a law enforcement perspective.” 

Sgt Conder urged Toodyay people in the grip of drug addiction to seek help through their doctor or contact support agencies that can be reached by phone or online. 

He said most drugs entered the town by road or train from Perth, Northam, Midland or WA’s north.

“Drugs are everywhere – Toodyay, Goomalling, Northam – everywhere,” Sgt Conder said. 

“We know that because we see the effect in our everyday work. 

“Some of Toodyay’s 3500 residents know about it but do nothing. 

“It’s a community health issue that needs more local support to help make our community safer for everyone, including those suffering from drug addition.”

Warm weather caution

THE ONSET of warmer weather has prompted Toodyay police to urge local residents to take extra care with their personal property as more visitors come to town to enjoy Spring in the Avon Valley.

“Please don’t leave your car unlocked and don’t leave handbags, wallets and keys unattended on the front seat or in the supermarket trolley when shopping – it’s only inviting trouble,” Sgt Conder said. 

“It’s also a good idea to have adequate lighting around your home at night. 

“Don’t be afraid to invest in a couple of video surveillance cameras – they’re cheap, act as a deterrent and can provide police with valuable evidence if you get robbed. 

“Also, please call police if you see anything suspicious – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.” 

Livestock near-miss 

FARMERS are again urged to check  fences and gates after two near-misses with livestock on local roads last month. 

“I almost hit a big cream-coloured cow on the Bindi Bindi Road in Bejoording last month after coming around a corner at 110km/h,” Sgt Conder said. 

“Two days earlier closer to town, I came across six sheep on the road. 

“This is a timely reminder to farmers to check their fences and livestock. 

“I understand how difficult this can be, particularly if kangaroos or emus damage fences around paddocks. 

“However, livestock owners are ultimately responsible and may be liable for any accident caused by stray farm animals on public roads. 

“It’s seen in law as a negligent act that can land you in court for causing damage, injury or death.”

Sgt Conder said anyone encountering livestock on public roads should report it immediately to a shire ranger on 9574 9370, which diverts to a mobile phone after hours.

“Stray livestock are particularly dangerous for motorbikes, which we see a lot of in this town,” Sgt Conder said.

“We also get lots of visitors from the city who don’t know how to drive in the country and don’t expect to suddenly see livestock on the road in front of them.

“Keeping our local farm animals secure will help reduce the chance of serious accidents on our roads.

”Dirt-bike Mongolia

RIDING 2758km in nine days on a 125cc Yamaha dirt bike in 40C heat might not be everybody’s idea of a fun trip but that’s exactly what Sgt Conder did on his holidays recently to help raise money for sick kids.

And make it even more challenging, the police charity ride was through remote outback Mongolia where participants – 12 riders and two support crews – slept in tents. 

“We rode 240km on one particular day on goat tracks, over steep mountain passes and across swollen river crossings in some of the roughest terrain I have ever experienced,” Sgt Conder said. 

“All our riders were pushed to the limit with rocks and holes everywhere, roaming livestock and extreme heat. 

“I’ve been riding bikes for more than 40 years and can honestly say this particular ride put my skills to the test. 

“Most of all I really felt the pain – day after day of dirt bike riding really hurts.”

The big policeman who normally rides a powerful Yamaha 1100 motorcycle in Toodyay said the much smaller dirt bike seemed tiny at first but soon turned out to be ideal for the rough terrain.

The Mongolian ride was part of a police Bright Blue Sick Children project to help raise awareness and funds for children suffering burns in the landlocked Third World country between China and Russia.

Sgt Conder said about 25 per cent of all children in Mongolia suffered burns that required medical intervention – an alarming rate of injury in a country where fire is commonly used for cooking and heating.

The ride was coordinated by WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan and raised a total of $60,000 to enable international surgical-aid charity organisation Interplast to visit Mongolia for eight days this month to treat up to 250 children, some requiring surgical skin grafts.

Sgt Conder, who personally raised $2860, said he wished to thank the Toodyay Lions Club, Toodyay Op Shop and “some wonderful community members who helped me on the way”.

Next year, Sgt Conder plans to return to his regular annual police Wall 2 Wall motorcycle ride from Perth to Canberra to raise funds for kids with cancer. 

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