Seeding time warning – paddock thieves on the prowl
THE ONSET of winter seeding for local farmers has prompted a police warning to secure all tools, vehicles and machinery left overnight in paddocks.
This follows an attempt to steal an $80,000 New Holland tractor parked overnight in a paddock in Wundowie last month.Read more
The tractor (similar to one pictured left) was to be used for seeding early next morning and had been left with its keys in the ignition.
“It was only luck that the battery was flat and thieves couldn’t start the tractor engine to drive it out of the paddock,” Toodyay Police Acting Sgt Kevan French said.
“However, thieves ripped out the GPS, which means the farmer wasn’t able to use his tractor for seeding until it was repaired.
“Police are checking fingerprints and DNA samples to trace possible offenders.”
Acting Sgt French said the Wheatbelt was notorious for machinery, diesel and tool thefts.
There had been about half a dozen reports of suspicious vehicles being seen near farms in the Toodyay area and surrounding districts in recent weeks.
“We’ve had night-time sightings of different vehicles – often seen from a distance – on public roads in Morangup, Coondle and near Cobbler Pool,” Acting Sgt French said.
“When owners turn on their lights to check, the vehicles speed off.”
Farmers could help police by keeping their machinery, and equipment secure if left overnight in paddocks, and by keeping records of serial, registration, chassis and engine numbers.
“We also monitor second-hand goods for sale on internet sites such as Gumtree and Facebook,” Acting Sgt French said.
“It takes a bit of time but does produce results.”
Early morning speed blitz
TOODYAY police were up at the crack of dawn last month to surprise several local motorists breaking the speed limit on their regular weekday morning commute to Perth.
“We had a few complaints about people driving too fast in the 90km/h zone between Coorinja Winery and Lovers Lane,’ Acting Sgt French said.
“So, we did some early morning patrols starting at 6am in marked police cars and stopped about a dozen speeding motorists in the first week.
“The worst was doing 120km/h in the 90km/ speed limit zone while most were travelling at about 100km/h, mainly around 7am.
Acting Sgt French said the early morning patrols in marked cars continued for a second week and the number of speeding motorists dropped to about half a dozen.
“The message has got out that we can be anywhere at any time,” Acting Sgt French said.
“The Wheatbelt is still one of the most dangerous places in the state to drive, and that narrow, hilly, winding stretch of Toodyay Road is particularly dangerous.
“Don’t be surprised to see us on the road next time you are driving to or from work in Perth.”
One-way unregistered ride
A WEEKENDER who thought he’d sneak into town on an unregistered farm motorcycle to order some new tyres for his ute suddenly found himself without any wheels when he was spotted by police.
His bike (pictured left) was immediately confiscated and if he wants to get it back, he’ll have to make a winning bid at a police auction in Perth.
The bike was one of three seized in a local police crackdown last month on unregistered trail and farm bikes being ridden on public roads.
“Section 800 of the Road Traffic Act states that if you are caught riding an unlicensed or unregistered motorbike, it is seized and forfeited to the State of Western Australia,” Acting Sgt French said.
“You can get a special licence for farm bikes if you want to cross a public road to get from one paddock to another but you can’t use it to ride five kilometres into town.
“If your bike’s not registered, don’t ride it on a public road or you’ll lose it.”