Tractor stolen from not-for-profit farming enterprise
SUMMERLAND House Farm in Alstonville suffered the loss of one of its tractors over the weekend, after an alleged theft.
Horticulture manager at Summerland House Farm, Chris Smith, said the tractor is one of six used by the not-for profit.
"It was one of our farm tractors, a Same Basso 80Hp. It disappeared in early hours of the morning (Monday); the purchase value of that tractor was $47,000 and it was purchased in 2000," he said.
"We had a resident on Wardell Road who uses a de-husking service rang to say he did hear a tractor go by his place at around 4am.
'There is not much else we can do and wait, but we need to discuss what options we have about financing to replace it or make do with the current fleet."
Summerland House Farm employs 100 people with different abilities, plus 30 auxiliary staff on site.
"The tractor is there to provide ongoing opportunities for people with disabilities," Mr Smith confirmed.
"It's very sad, and for us it also means we may need to invest money into security, and we rather be investing money into providing employment, but I guess that may be something we may need to consider."
Smith said he has been with the organisation for seven years and has only seen it affected by two serious direct thefts.
"One was late last year, when one of the cash registers was stolen from the retail outlet at the front," he said.
"Burt from a dollar value, this is the most serious theft we've ever had."
The executive said the theft impacts in the regular operations of the farm.
"We now have problems moving macadamia husk away from the de-husking facility onto the farm, that's what we used it for," he said.
Richmond Police District Inspector David Vandergriend said anyone with information about the theft should contact police.
"Our Rural Crimes Squad is looking into it and doing some follow up investigations," he said.
Members of the public are requested to submit any information to Ballina Police on 6681 8699 or police assistance on 131444, incident number E318696094.