TAKE HAY WHILE SUN SHINES: Livelihoods stolen in small town
DESPERATE farmers deep in debt and drought are stealing hay from neighbours as police warn residents to be on the lookout.
Allora’s officer-in-charge Damian Grace said several producers had reported bales stolen in the past fortnight.
Stanthorpe police have warned of a trend in water theft due to drought.
“As the drought continues and conditions worsen across the district, residents of both Allora township and surrounding farms are urged to consider the security of property and things that may not have been considered previously,” Sgt Grace said.
With hay up to $300 a bale and farmers forced to freight from as far north as Gympie, charity organiser Cynthia McDonald said she understood what drove farmers to act in such an uncharacteristic way, even if she could not support it.
“I can understand it but I don’t sympathise with theft,” Mrs McDonald said.
“I know prices are high but if you can’t afford to have stock, destock.”
Mrs McDonald recently destocked her cattle farm from 500 to 60 and asked thieves to think about the grief they were causing their neighbours.
“It’s an extremely low act. People should look long and hard at themselves, if that’s what its come to, stealing someone else’s livelihood. I’m not saying it’s greed, it’s absolute desperation, but that doesn’t make it right,” she said.
“Do what you need to do, but don’t do something that you will regret in the future. “
Mrs McDonald said federal and charity drought help was available for those struggling.
Sgt Grace said residents should contact Allora Police on 4666 3222 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if they had information about the theft. For information on federal help, visit daf.qld.gov.au.