Runway lights essential for the safe landing of aircraft at Merimbula airport have been stolen.
Offenders broke into the airport on Arthur Kaine Drive, between 9pm and 5:30am on September 3, and took six runway lights from the northern end of the runway.
Bega Valley Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick, told East Coast Radio the theft had the potential to disrupt airport operations and endanger the lives of everyone using the airport.
“We strongly condemn the act of reckless stupidity that took place on the night of September 3, between 9:00pm and 5:30am at Merimbula airport,” Mayor Fitzpatrick said.
“On this night, a person or persons illegally entered Merimbula airport and stole six runway lights,” he continued.
“This is a clear violation of the law and demonstrates a complete disregard for community safety and airport property.”
The matter has been reported to the NSW Police and the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs, both of which have initiated investigations.
“The person or persons responsible should be aware that their actions carry severe consequences under the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004,” Fitzpatrick said.
Entering the airport airside area without permission carries a $5000 fine, and in this case, where theft and damage occurred, additional charges may apply.
“We urge anyone with information related to this offence to come forward and assist in the ongoing investigation,” Fitzpatrick pleaded.
Crime Stoppers NSW can be contacted pon 1800 333 000 or information can be submitted online HERE.
“Our Airport Management Team has installed temporary lights to ensure the continued safe use of Merimbula Airport, including night operations for our essential aeromedical and regular airline services,” Fitzpatrick said.
“The Bega Valley community will not tolerate acts that place people’s life at risk. Those responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Image: Bega Valley Shire Council