NSW Nationals Police Minister Troy Grant has welcomed the third annual Rural Crime Week, which aims to stamp out crime in farming communities and educate farmers on how they can better protect their properties.

The Member for Dubbo said farmers across rural and regional areas could be assured the Nationals in Government were working closely with the NSW Police Force to crackdown on rural crime.

“Stock theft, illegal hunting, firearm theft and trespassing are all major issues for rural and farming communities that are already experiencing tough times thanks to the drought,” Mr Grant said. “Unfortunately, rural crime is significantly under-reported as farmers often find it challenging to show proof of trespass and evidence of crime. This year, the NSW Farmers Association in conjunction with the NSW Police Force Rural Crime Investigation Teams are holding 26 rural crime workshops throughout the State to provide farmers with proactive strategies to protect their business and improve their safety.”

A former NSW Police Inspector, Mr Grant knew firsthand the challenges facing police in rural areas, with crime costing farmers millions of dollars every year and having devastating economic, social and personal impacts.

“Between June 2017 and July 2018, almost $3 million dollars’ worth of cattle and sheep was stolen from our farmers,” Mr Grant said. “Our farmers are the lifeblood and backbone of this country. They are already doing it extremely tough with the drought and the theft of livestock and equipment further contributes to the hardship they are currently facing. These criminal acts threaten the livelihood of our farmers and rural communities, and that’s something we simply won’t tolerate.”