Thieves have done the unthinkable and stolen a truck from volunteer firefighters on the Far South Coast.
South Coast Police confirmed an RFS truck was taken from the Nethercote Fire Station in the Bega Valley between 11.30am on Sunday (December 3) and 4:30pm on Monday (December 4).
Detective Sergeant from Bega Police, Justin Marks, told East Coast Radio that unknown persons gained entry into the Nethercote Rural Fire Shed.
“Once inside they’ve gained access to a utility which is a fully marked Rural Fire Service vehicle equipped with hydrants, suction lines, extinguishers and hoses,” Detective Sergeant Marks said
“They’ve stolen it and the vehicles whereabouts is currently unknown,” he said.
“It touches at the heart of our community and when offenders break into RFS sheds which are manned by volunteers, that have done an extraordinary job over the last couple of years, and will likely have a battle on their hands this summer, and take an RFS asset after everything we’ve been through with Black Summer is absolutely disgusting.
“I’m hoping we find the fire truck, find the offender, prosecute that person or persons and put them before the courts.”
The utility is described as a red fully marked RFS vehicle with the words ‘NETHERCOTE 9’ on the front and side of it. The 1999 Nissan Patrol has a single blue and red revolving light on it’s roof and no registration plates on it.
“It should stand out quite clearly if it’s sighted,” Detective Sergeant Marks said.
“It’s got lifesaving equipment on board including an AED, bolt cutters, jerry cans, a chainsaw, helmets and other items used by members of the RFS,” he said.
“What may be seen as invaluable to these offenders is clearly valuable to RFS members and they need it for the protection of their community, so we need this truck back.”
Police are appealing to people along the Far South Coast to get in touch with police or Crime Stoppers if you have any information about the ute.
“If you do see it, don’t try to be a hero and approach the vehicle or intervene, call triple zero (000) or Crime Stoppers (1300 333 000) and report it immediately at anytime of the day or night and we’ll get police out there to assist,” Detective Sergeant Marks said.
It’s not the first time a crime like this has occurred at the Nethercote volunteer fire brigade, with thieves taking $15,000 worth of lifesaving equipment from the station back in September 2020.
Police denied the theft was linked with recent criminal activity around the Eden and Nethercote areas, where multiple fires have been deliberately lit over the last 12 months, and a van was set on fire at Nethercote Road, Eden, on 8th September 2023.
When asked if South Coast Police have any leads, Detective Sergeant Marks said they are making a number of enquiries at this stage.
“We’re also relying on members of the public to provide us with some assistance, so please keep your eyes peeled,” Detective Sergeant Marks said.
“Our main priority is locating the vehicle, hopefully it’s in tact and we can get it back to the hardworking men and women from the Nethercote RFS.”
Images: Far South Coast RFS, NSW Police