State Emergency Operations Controller issues warning to would-be looters Saturday, 04 January 2020 12:30:50 PM
NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys has issued a warning following reported break-ins and stealing offences within bushfire-affected areas.
State Emergency Operations Controller (SEOCON), Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys, said both uniformed and plain-clothes police are already patrolling these areas – and they have aerial surveillance support.
“Police and emergency services are at the ready to prevent loss of life, livestock and property, and I am disgusted that anyone would target these vulnerable communities at this time,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
“People in these areas have already lost members of their communities, seen property destroyed and suffered emotional turmoil from the recent fire activity, they do not need the added stress of looters stealing what little they might have left!
“Local police numbers are being bolstered by officers from specialist commands to ensure regular patrols are conducted throughout the bushfire-affected areas.
“With thousands of lives and homes at risk today, I can’t comprehend the type of person who’d think it’s okay to try and profit or benefit at other people’s expense.
“Any reports of criminal acts will be thoroughly investigated. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated by police or the wider community, and police will take immediate action to put these people before the courts.
Deputy Commissioner Worboys reminded the community not to return to these areas until emergency services have declared it safe to do so.
“At this time, unless you have a legitimate reason to be in a fire-affected area, don’t go in there,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
“We’re also urging members of the community to be vigilant and report crime appropriately.
“Anyone who sees a crime being committed – or in other emergencies – call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
“However, if it’s not urgent, contact the Police Assistance Line 131 444 or your local police station.
“If you are concerned or believe you have witnessed suspicious activity, then it’s best to contact Crime Stoppers.”
Anyone who has information about suspected illegal activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
For all updated bushfire information, visit: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.