Police in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt are investigating the theft of 36,000 liters of liquid fertilizer from a rural property near Toodyay.
- Western Australia police investigate 36,000 liters of fertilizer theft
- The liquid nitrogen fertilizer went missing at a landowner’s property in Wattening and is worth almost $ 50,000
- Fertilizer prices have more than doubled in the past year due to limited supply from China and global uncertainty
Last week, a landowner at Wattening tried to fill up a machine, only to discover that more than half of their 60,000-liter Flexi-N tank was missing.
Police have called witnesses to any unusual behavior in the Wattening area since October last year when the tank was filled.
Toodyay Senior Constable Kevan French said he was unsure how the theft took place, but said it was unusual and with premeditated advice.
“A two-year nationwide search has found just one other incident in Moora [about 100km north-west of Wattening]where 40 000 liters of liquid fertilizer were taken in April last year, ”he said.
Fertilizer price increase
Fertilizer prices have risen to record highs over the past 12 months due to limited supply from China and global uncertainty due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Product is often stored in large quantities and left unattended on farms, which according to the police were made for easy targets.
Senior Constable French said farmers should lock up storage tanks where possible and look out for suspicious behavior.
“With seeds starting to take off, there will be a lot of trucks around, but if it’s a truck or a vehicle you do not recognize, please contact the police,” he said.
an ‘abominable thing to do’
The president of the parsonage and the Graziers Association and the York farmer, Tony Seabrook, described farmers as “sitting ducks” who are vulnerable to people stealing from their homes, barns and camps when they were not present.
“Most farmers are damn good guys and good women,” he said.
“It’s a very nasty thing to do.”
Mr Seabrook said the advent of portable battery-powered cutting tools has made it pretty pointless to lock in plant and equipment as padlocks can be easily cut.
He said many properties, including his own, had security cameras installed.
“I think this is something that every farmer should consider,” he said.
“I do not think the police can do much to stop it.
“It’s individual awareness, it’s cameras, to have people on the property, to be careful.
“It falls more back on the property owners than the police.”
Placed , updated