Ratepayers are the losers when it comes to theft of council property is the message coming from Central Highlands Regional Council after a spate of roadside robberies.
Recently, $600 worth of diesel fuel was taken from a grader at Yackam Road in Blackwater; $1200 worth of road safety signs were stolen from the Blackwater Rolleston Comet River Road; and more than $2000 worth of tools, equipment and fuel was stolen from a loader on a council construction site at Fairhills Road.
Council also received a letter from an upset resident in Blackwater who says theft of gravel from the roadside stockpiles is rife in the area.
Mayor Cr Peter Maguire said he’s ‘disappointed’ that people have so little regard for public property.
‘Apparently, council staff report acts of theft and vandalism to council equipment and property about once a month, but lately it’s been escalating.
‘What people fail to realise is all the replacement and repairs comes out of the public purse, that’s ratepayer’s money, which could be spent much better elsewhere.
‘Not to mention the cost in time of reporting and fixing these issues. Then, there’s the safety factor. Road signs are there for a reason and stealing them could result in a tragic accident.’
Council has surveillance cameras in some areas, but says the cost of placing cameras throughout the region would be prohibitive.
Police are investigating the latest incidents.