Dubbo born and raised Orana LAC Rural Crime Investigator Detective Senior Constable Mark Wallace said all he wanted to be when he grew up was a soldier or a cop.
In Det Snr Const Wallace’s own words he has “been lucky enough to do both.”
After finishing Year 12 at Dubbo South High he joined the Army and served for 6 years in the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, before joining the police force in 2001.
Before he was posted to Wellington in 2002, Det Snr Const Wallace studied at the Goulburn police academy.
He’s been in his current RCI role with the Orana LAC for just over 12 months, working with his “great mate” and fellow rural crime investigator Det Snr Const Magann.
The role has seen Det Snr Const Wallace investigate the theft of goats, sheep, and cattle as well as trespassing illegal hunting and rural break enter and stealing's.
He said rural crime in the Orana LAC “ebbs and flows” with no particular hotspot for a specific crime.
“Generally the wet weather helps us out with illegal hunters. They don’t go out in the wet,” Det Snr Const Wallace said.
“If we get a dry spell we’ll tend to get more, because if its wet they’re likely to get bogged. But the drier the weather the more poachers we seem to get.”
Det Snr Const Wallace said the drama with poachers is that they are not only trespassing on property but destroying paddocks and crashing through fences.
“To them they’re only on the property chasing pigs, but they drive through fences and they’ll destroy farmers paddocks, so stock gets out. There’s a lot of money in that stock. They’ll also drive through crops,” he said.
His advice for rural land holders would be to remember that just because they live out of town doesn’t make them immune to being the victim of theft.
“Sadly scum bags have vehicles and will travel. It's good practice to mark all your tools etcetera with some sort of identifying feature, like a licence number or last name,” he said.
“The amount of stolen tools with no marking that turn up at the station has to be seen to be believed”
He advised landholders to lock gates and sheds when not at home.
“No more ‘But back in the day we didn't have to lock anything.’ Those days are long gone,” Det Snr Const Wallace said.
Rural break and enters for firearms was also concern in the Orana LGA.
“A lot of farms have got firearms and we’ve found crooks take their own tools to jobs, such as angle grinders,” Det Snr Const Wallace said.
“People have got to be a lot more smart with their safe keeping.”
Det Snr Const Wallace said they are trying to get the message out to everyone, from people with small 25 acre blocks right up to our big farmers to be vigilant.
“Thank goodness we don’t get many armed hold ups out here. But firearms tend to be sold on, they (thieves) don’t have them for too long, there’s always a market for them,” he said.
His message was to report any suspicious behaviour and incidents.
“You’ve got to make it harder for them. And out of town everyone knows their neighbors so if they work together it makes it harder for thieves and easier for us,” Det Snr Const Wallace said.
“We’re trying to get out as much as we can to establish those lines of communication. A lot of farmers by nature are private people.. but Tom and I are pretty visible...
“It’s no good knowing 6 to 12 months down track about whats going on. We need to know. I guarantee if we know they’ll get a response from Tom and I. But again if they don’t tell us we don’t know.”