Local News

Upper Hunter farmers being taken advantage of; police warn for producers to have due diligence

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The Upper Hunter is suffering in this devastating drought and there are people taking advantage of some of the most vulnerable.

The Hunter Valley Police District’s Rural Crime Investigators are investigating a number of instances of farmers being the victim of hay fraud.

Acting Superintendent Chad Gillies said, unfortunately, some people can’t help themselves.

“As usual some people can't help themselves and are targeting those vulnerable farmers out there who are doing it tough.”

“We’ve had a report back in August this year of a fraud involving the purchase of 60 bales of hay, approximately $12,000 the victim is currently out of pocket. Our rural crime prevention team are now investigating that complaint and I am aware of similar reports in other parts of NSW including Armidale, but also subject to investigation,” he said.

“There’s been no delivery of hay, so once again taking advantage of our desperate circumstances for some of our farmers who are now out of pocket for products not delivered so that is a criminal offence.”

“We’ve since had contact with the newspaper where this ad was posted by the offender and had this ad removed to try and prevent other people becoming victim of this fraud and I would encourage anyone who has had payments made to any person and hasn’t had the hay received back to please contact Crime Stoppers or their local police station.”

 “Our rural crime investigation team will be further investigating that and potentially other matters as they come to light,” said Acting Superintendent Gillies.

There have been a number of reports across NSW and in the last few months in the New England region.

Acting Superintendent Gillies said it’s such a tough time right now across the district, but farmers and producers have to have due diligence.

“The standard practice of due diligence, making sure you do your research, making appropriate inquiries to who you are transferring large sums of money to especially if they are through private email addresses and what not, its really imperative that those people just do due diligence, make sure they are confident, that these people are reputable and that there are no other complaints,” he said.

Acting Superintendent Gillies said an internet search and a look through Scam Watch can help.

If you are suspicious or have problems call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, your local police station or you can find the Rural Crime Investigators at Muswellbrook Police Station on 6542 6999.

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters