Thieves have stolen in excess of $100,000 worth of farming equipment from a property in Yannathan.
With 95 percent of his property at Garfield North damaged from the Bunyip bushfires, farm owner Craig White has been pouring every dollar into repair and recovery.
A John Deer tractor, a four wheeler, a two wheeler, fuel, tools and more, were stolen from the Yannathan property on Friday 27 October.
At about 2.30am, the thieves entered the private property, pulled sheets off the side wall of the farm shed and used a grinder to break in.
Instead of driving the tractor through the entrance of the property, the offenders barged through the gates, ripping the entire fence down.
The two wheeler was located on the side of the road, not far from the property.
About 3.30am the next night, the tractor was spotted travelling along Kooweerup-Longwarry Road.
Police were called to Cora Lynn Recreation Reserve, where two offenders exited the tractor and ran away on foot.
At a property in Monomeith, the front end loader was found tipped on its side in an old disused shed.
“It’s our livelihood. Some things don’t concern you but when it’s your income and your livelihood, this time of the year tractors are super important and they just take it on a rampage, they don’t get it,” Mr White said.
“It wasn’t like they stole it to use it themselves or to sell it – it was all for nothing and it’s cost us a lot of money.
“Why do they think they have the right to take something that’s someone else’s? Us farmers produce food for these people, where’s the respect?”
But this wasn’t the first time Mr White’s farm has been targeted.
Just over a month ago, thieves attempted to break into another shed on his Yannathan property, but failed to gain access.
Within the past few months, a number of farms in the same area have been targeted, including Ripplebrook Poultry and a Labertouche dairy farm – which was broken into three days in a row.
“This probably shouldn’t have affected my wife this much but it has,” Mr White added.
“It brought back memories from the fires and she said to me ‘we need to have a break, there’s got to be a break somewhere’.
“If there are a few bad luck things, there has to be a few good luck things to follow.”
With the bushfire aftermath taking its toll, silage season underway, and farm animals that need looking after, Mr White said this year has been full of “troubling times”.
“Farming is hard enough as it is,” he said.
“My wife woke up the other night and saw a light through the trees. Because it’s burnt out now you can see further.
“She panicked and thought someone was coming up the driveway but it was just the far neighbours. It makes you feel uneasy and nervous.”
Cardinia police were able to collect the offenders’ fingerprints and are investigating.