National | 1080

DOC calls in police after alleged vehicle tampering

The Department of Conservation has laid complaints with police after several incidents of alleged vehicle tampering in the past few weeks.

There have been three cases where wheel nuts were allegedly loosened on DOC, private and contractor’s vehicles in two different regions.

In the most serious case, a contractor’s wheel came off while he was driving, and jammed in the wheel housing.

DOC Director-General Lou Sanson says it is fortunate that no one was hurt by these events, which were potentially very dangerous.  Each incident has been reported to the police.

“We take any threats to DOC staff very seriously and are working with the police to find those responsible.”

DOC has put measures in place to protect our staff and contractors and is being vigilant in checking all vehicles before use. We have asked contractors to do the same.

“I believe the activity is designed to intimidate DOC and OSPRI workers and disrupt aerial 1080 pest control operations,” he says, “although not all vehicles targeted were being used to support operations.”

The Department has also informed police of one case where 1080 baits were left in a letterbox at a DOC address.

“People have a right to lawful protest, but I will not tolerate anyone putting my staff at risk as they go about their job of protecting our precious wildlife,” he says.

DOC has urged anyone to contact NZ Police with relevant information or call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 to report information anonymously.