By Rachel Macdonald
Lock it and leave it close to the house. That is the message from Rangiora Senior Sergeant Paul Reeves, as the police tackle another spate of rural thefts in North Canterbury.
Top of the thieves’ list at the moment are farm all-terrain vehicles and trailers.
A Jayco Sterling Outback caravan, worth $80,000, has also disappeared from Rangiora.
Mandy and Tony Stead had bought the caravan around 18 months ago. It had been well secured at home.
Tony believes the thieves connected the two heavy safety chains together and hooked this over the vehicles tow bar to remove it.
Several sightings have been reported, including on the outskirts of Rangiora and heading towards Oxford.
Senior Sergeant Reeves said the thieves who stole the caravan cut the padlocks off a gate to get to their target. He says many farmers and lifestylers aren’t so cautious.
“A lot of our rural community are pretty trusting, and we’ve got a group of miscreants taking advantage of that at the moment, especially around the Oxford area,” he says.
“Open-sided sheds are easy to access, and they and the equipment in them make for convenient targets when they’re at a distance from the house.
“All a thief needs is a trailer, and your expensive quad bike is history.”
As well as locking gates and sheds, and making sure vehicle keys are safely stowed, the police are recommending further identification and tracking measures to make property easier to identify and recover.
“You can engrave a trailer’s registration number on the chassis, so that if it gets re-registered, it’s still identifiable as your stolen property,” he says.
“When it comes to ATVs, GPS dots or locator chips are a useful tool, too.
“You can get them from any car security company and they’re a small investment for great peace of mind. At least then, if your vehicle goes missing, you know where it is, and we can manage things from there.”