The NSW Government wants to give police on-the-spot powers to¬†confiscate and impound equipment belonging to¬†suspected feral goat poachers.
According to an article in The Land, Barwon MP Kevin Humphries said there had been a marked rise in stock thefts in his giant western electorate on the back of soaring meat prices. He said the burgeoning feral goat industry had been particularly targeted in the state‚Äôs west, though cattle and sheep thefts across the state remained a problem.
Mr Humphries said plans were afoot¬†to clamp down on would-be duffers¬†by allowing NSW police to confiscate and impound any assets believed to be used in poaching.
‚ÄúWe want to go down a line where it is much easier for Police to impound assets, trailers, crates of people who are somewhere they shouldn‚Äôt be and don‚Äôt have a good enough reason to be there,‚Äù Mr¬†Humphries said
‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre in the wrong place at the wrong time without a legitimate reason, then you could lose your gear,‚Äù he said.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs letting Police act on suspicious behaviour without jumping through a whole lot of hoops.¬†
‚ÄúWe want a system that is easy to operate and allow landholders to interface more easily with the police.‚Äù
University of New England rural crime expert Associate Professor Elaine Barclay backed the strategy. ‚ÄúThe problems of poaching trespassing, illegal hunting in rural areas have gone through the roof,‚Äù she said.¬†
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a concern for farmers and they don‚Äôt know how to prevent it.¬†
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think these powers will be¬†misused ‚Äì¬†they are going to help Police prosecute people in the wrong.‚Äù¬†
Goat prices have risen from $2 to $5 per kilo in the space of two years, with the sales of¬†rangeland goats supporting many¬†livelihoods out west.¬†
Tim Walmsley of Ascot Meats at Cobar welcomed the increased effort from Government and Police.¬†
‚ÄúYou hear (thefts)¬†happening two or three times a week out here at the moment,‚Äù Mr Walmsley¬†said.¬†
‚ÄúYou‚Äôve also got a lot of people cutting fences. Because it‚Äôs mainly the wild goats nobody knows how many they‚Äôre losing – could be 10 or 100 at a time.‚Äù¬†
Mr Humphries‚Äô announcement comes on the back of¬†the Darling River Local Area Command launch of Operation High Ground.¬†
The aim of the 12-month operation is to provide specific rural crime training to frontline police, targeting rural crime suspects, conducting proactive patrols of remote areas and bringing¬†the rural community together.
People can contact officers with information at¬†email@example.com.¬†