21 April 2021

Thieves cost ratepayers by breaking into Bega Valley's tips

| Albert McKnight
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Bulldozer treating rubbish at Central Waste Facility at Wanatta Lane

Bega Valley Shire Council’s Central Waste Facility at Wanatta Lane. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council Facebook page.

Thieves have been breaking into Bega Valley Shire Council’s tips, with the costs of their actions borne by the community.

The break-ins also mean heightened security measures will be introduced, possibly ending cash payments at the facilities.

The shire’s waste transfer stations were broken into numerous times from September 2020, with the most recent incidents reported at tips in Eden and Wolumla during this month’s Easter long weekend.

“Each incident comes at significant and cumulative cost to council and the community,” said Bega Valley Shire Council’s waste services manager, Alan Gundrill.

“For example, the theft of one vehicle has resulted in building repair costs on top of hire fees for plant machinery required for the crime scene investigation.

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“The rising cost of lost cash and equipment, repairs and replacement of broken infrastructure, and time spent in reporting and implementing corrective actions is borne by every local ratepayer and tip user.”

Mr Gundrill said on Wednesday, 14 April, NSW Police told council a suspect was in custody, and a vehicle recently stolen from one of its sites had been retrieved.

“Footage from recent incidents have already assisted police with their investigations, and it is our intention to upgrade existing surveillance measures to deter future break-ins,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Gundrill said police advised council to install closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) and to no longer offer cash as a payment method at waste transfer stations.

“CCTV is an additional expense the community could do without, and implementing cashless payments would be an inconvenience to many of our customers,” he said.

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However, when questioned by Region Media, council did not provide an estimate of how much the installation of CCTV at the tips would cost.

The dates of break-ins at council waste facilities from September 2020 to April 2021 are as follows:

  • Eden Waste Transfer Station: 10-11 February, 3 April
  • Wallagoot Waste Transfer Station: 5 March
  • Candelo Waste Transfer Station: 20-24 December, 24-28 January
  • Bemboka Waste Transfer Station: 22 December-2 January, 16-21 January, 25-27 February
  • Central Waste Facility, Wolumla: 26-28 September, 7 October, 3 April.

A break-in and theft was also reported at Bega War Memorial Pool on 12 March.

Mr Gundrill said police want to hear from anyone with information relating to the break-ins so if you have any information, contact Bega Police Station on 02 6492 9999, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or by clicking here.

“Our staff work hard to provide a highly valued community service, and it is very disappointing that a few individuals should add cost and inconvenience to the work we deliver,” he said.

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