Farmer fears for family as trespassers shoot up land

The skull of a buck shot and left at Paul Bateman's property.
The skull of a buck shot and left at Paul Bateman's property. Paul Bateman

THEY hear the bullets before they see the spotlights.

Paul Bateman and his family will have a moments notice before trespassers open fire on their land, shooting pigs, kangaroos and deer with no regard for the family.

"I've had to move the livestock," he said.

"It's just not safe anymore.

"The kids used to go out camping, but they won't do that either."

Mr Bateman said the shooters came onto his 283ha property at least twice a month, totally unannounced, and had been doing so for a year.

"Once the kids were up camping, and gunfire started over their heads," he said.

"It's dangerous.

"My wife said she can hear the bullets wizz past on the veranda."

Mr Bateman had never seen the shooters up close, but described their antics as 'reckless and dangerous'.

"The thing that bugs me, is they're not doing it for a feed or anything like that," he said.

"They shot a buck and just left him there, didn't take a trophy, a hide.

"Unless they actually hit someone, or take down a prize bull, it's hard for anyone else to really take notice.

"But by then it will be too late."

Mr Bateman has set up security cameras at his home, and placed solar lights around the property.

Stock and Rural Investigation Crime Squad Detective Sergeant Brendan Murphy said as further deterrence for prospective trespassers, the SRICS would be patrolling the Southern Downs over the Australia Day weekend.

"Trespass is one of the issues that is a constant for us," he said.

"There's a couple of issues with it and a lot of relates to livestock.

"It's an offence to leave gates open, and to cut fences is wilful damage.

"It's a big problem, because once livestock gets out, they get on main roads.

"Plus if you've got anything on four legs its probably worth a lot."

Det Sgt Murphy said anyone planning to shoot or camp on property was legally obliged to ask property owners before doing so, and leave land immediately once asked.

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