A fresh spate of car thefts and property damage has prompted a call from local police for greater security measures in the community.
The most recent case saw a white ute stolen from a Davis Avenue property at 4am on Sunday morning.
The ute was later found on fire by the banks of the Mooki river on Monday.
Over the past several months, several vehicles and property have been stolen from across the Gunnedah shire.
Oxley Police Inspector Michael Wurth said investigations into the weekend’s theft were continuing.
“Gunnedah is unfortunately again experiencing a spate of vehicle thefts from residential and commercial premises,” Inspector Wurth said.
“A number of these have involved the offenders breaking into premises to locate car keys before then stealing the motor vehicle.”
Inspector Wurth said the trend of houses being broken into was “worrying”.
“The penalty for breaking into a premises whilst it is occupied carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, such is the seriousness that the legislation places on these types of offences,” he said.
“Though some vehicles have been reported as having been left unlocked and/or with keys inside before being stolen, it is worrying that people have entered homes whilst the occupants are sleeping.
“These offences not only affect the victims financially but it is also very unnerving to know that offenders have been inside their house.”
The recent thefts have prompted police to seek the public’s help in catching those responsible.
“Gunnedah Police are confident there are members of the community who know who this person or persons are and call upon them to assist police in investigating these offences by providing any information they might assist putting the persons responsible before the courts,” Inspector Wurth said.
He said Gunnedah Police reiterate the need for all offences to be reported so that proper investigations can be conducted.
“Also to ensure that all property in vehicles is taken out or at least out of sight, that vehicles are properly secured (all vehicles manufactured after 2001 have an immobiliser preventing hot-wiring) and in light of recent events, ensure that houses are properly locked and car keys secured or well hidden,” he said.