It’s a low act at any time, but especially during one of the worst droughts in living memory.
Hay bale theft in the Maitland area is on the rise and it’s already happening in other parts of drought-stricken NSW.
Just this week a car trailer load of square bales, worth $700, were stolen from a shed at Phoenix Park and another $900 worth of hay was taken near Maitland.
It’s not clear whether the fodder is being taken by landholders desperate to feed their stock or opportunists who plan to sell the hay.
It’s prompted police to warn farmers to keep their supplies secure.
Hunter Valley Rural Crime Investigators, which are part of the NSW Police Force, are also receiving reports about suspected fraud over hay deliveries across the Hunter Valley.
They have urged landholders to do their homework when sourcing hay from suppliers, and report any unlawful actions to police.
Landholders are urged to research the supplier on the internet and through Facebook and look at their customer reviews to determine if the business is legitimate.
They should also ask for confirmation of delivery dates in writing to avoid any disputes.
Those ordering hay from a paper advertisement should take a photo of it and note the date and where it appeared.
If the agreed delivery date has passed and the hay has not arrived, the buyer should contact the supplier. If the phone number has been disconnected or the calls continually go unanswered, phone police.
If the buyer requests a refund after the hay has not been delivered, and it is not granted, call Hunter Valley Rural Crime Investigators on 6542 6999.