Practical tips on preventing firearm theft and rural crime

The NSW Rural Crime Investigation Unit will have information on the national gun amnesty at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

Firearm, stock and fuel theft are topping the list of offences taking place on rural properties in southern NSW.

NSW Rural Crime Investigation Unit (Southern NSW) Detective Superintendent Peter O’Brien said the number of firearms stolen from rural properties was a high priority for police.

Det-Supt O’Brien said gun security and the National Firearms Amnesty would be a focus of information available for the public at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

He urged regional residents to surrender unregistered and unwanted firearms and ammunition at their local police station during business hours before the end of the amnesty on September 30.

The aim of the firearms amnesty is to improve public safety by reducing the number of unlicensed and unregistered firearms in the community.

There is no charge to surrender a firearm and no compensation payable however the police will give receipts for the surrendered firearm.

Firearms include guns, airguns, air rifles, blank firearms, firearm parts, pistols, self-loading rimfire and centre-fire rifles, pump action shotguns and powerheads.

“Our city and country criminals are targeting premises to steal firearms – for every 100 which are stolen we are only getting two or three back so where are they all?,’’ Det-Supt O’Brien said.

“Firearms, fuel and stock theft are the top three concerns, along with the theft of ag bikes, pumps, chainsaws and tools.

“Rural families are also soft targets for fraud gangs over the phone and internet.

“We have had people stealing pumps, fencing and ag pipes, and on-selling it but unfortunately many of the times it is fellow farmers stealing from absentee property owners.

“Rural crime is a lot different to policing city suburbs – we cannot do it on our own and need the farmers to change their ways to assist us.’’

Rural Crime Investigators will be at the Henty field days with practical information on how farmers can better secure their properties, machinery and stock.

Det-Supt O’Brien said tips and advice would include identification marks on tools and equipment for traceability.

“We like to have interaction with farmers at the field days to receive feedback on ideas on how we can reduce the incidence of issues on properties.’’