Father-and-son fugitives terrorised Darling Downs
A DARLING Downs farmer is still counting the cost of his association with two of the country's most wanted men.
Cecil Plains farmer Doug Redding unknowingly employed fugitive duo Gino and Mark Stocco in April 2013.
He had no idea at the time the two men would become the nation's most wanted outlaws whose reign of crime and terror stretches the length of Australia's east coast.
Mr Redding said he hired the father and son pair from April to October, 2013, as caretakers for his small cattle property, 22km west of Cecil Plains.
"I was in a position that I was away working and I needed someone to look after the place," Mr Redding said.
"That's the worst thing - I introduced these bastards to the region and while I was away, they were pillaging and thieving around here."
The Stoccos are believed to be in southern NSW or Victoria, where cross-border police have established a major taskforce in an effort to apprehend the pair.
They are wanted for a number of violent crimes and property offences in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Mr Redding described the outlaw duo as "dirty, filthy lying bastards" but had "never had a cross word" said between himself and the pair during the six months the Stoccos worked for him.
When they quit from his property, they "stole a hell of a lot of gear" and continued on with their criminal dealings into New South Wales and Victoria.
"What they didn't steal, they smashed," Mr Redding said.
He said the pair poured sugar into the fuel tanks of machines and vehicles on his property, rendering them useless.
"Then they came back in August 2014 when they cracked into my gun safe," he said.
That was when the pair got their hands on Mr Redding's rifles from a locked gun safe on his property.
"They must have duplicated the keys to my gun safe and knew what was in there," he said.
"They just opened it up and helped themselves to the rifles.
"When you first meet them and just listen, you realise they are bordering on the edge of insanity."
He said the night the pair returned in August last year, he chased and "almost caught them".
"But I was very aware there were two of them and only one of me," he said.
Victorian police said there was "no hard evidence" that suggested the pair would be violent to community members, but the fact they had "demonstrated a propensity for violence towards police" made them unpredictable.
Police are also concerned the pair has weapons stockpiled in rural areas around the country.
Mr Redding said NSW police investigations had recovered some of the items the pair stole from his property in 2013, but he was doubtful he would eventually recover everything.
He has personally handed out images of the pair in an effort to raise awareness since he fell victim to the Stoccos in 2013.
"These people, you don't get to do this for as long as they have been doing it without having the cunning of a mongrel, mangy fox," he said.
"They've burnt sheds and houses and properties on farms from one end of Australia to the other, and they've done it consistently."