Thieves make off with $10k panels

WITH the moon shining bright twice in the past two months thieves have seized the opportunity to steal $10,000 worth of cattle yard panels from the Stanthorpe Showgrounds.

Stanthorpe Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said police were called to the second incident of stealing on the grounds on Saturday morning, where 24 panels worth about $2400 were taken.

The first happened some time between April 27 and May 1 where 76 panels were stolen from the showgrounds as well as the adjoining steel pins and two gates.

Sgt Ireland said it appeared the offenders had used the full moon at both incidents to their advantage to break into the grounds and steal the items without being detected.

Stanthorpe Agricultural Society president Cameron Gow said the thefts were a major cost for the society being a non-for-profit community organisation.

“They are really pinching from the Stanthorpe community – it is really disappointing,” Mr Gow said.

Saleyards board chairman Keith Pickstone said in previous years they had lost the odd panel before, however losing panels twice which could hold more than 100 head of cattle was devastating.

“Now it's a hell of a shock to us... we are all just so upset about it all,” Mr Pickstone said.

He said it appeared the offenders had used the back entrance, which was not well known to many people, and the following gate which is locked to gain access.

“It really upsets me – it's a community enterprise they are stealing from,” he told the Daily News.

“I don't believe those who are responsible for this would really realise the extent of what they have done.”

Mr Pickstone said he would like to know a way to put a stop to the thefts and how to guard the gates in the future.

“We have considered security cameras... it's something we will probably have to do now,” he said.

Mr Pickstone said they normally had to hire extra panels on top of what they already owned to hold the big cattle sales each year and lacking these assets was a big loss to the society.

He pleaded with the public to keep an eye out for anything to help retrieve the panels, as well as stock truck drivers who may have information.

Sgt Ireland said the police were seeking any information from the public and to call Stanthorpe Police on 46816400 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

“If anyone can recall a ute or a light truck in the early hours of Saturday morning... the panels are quiet transportable,” Sgt Ireland said.

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