The City of Cockburn and Cockburn Police have joined forces to appeal for information about a distinctive four wheel drive vehicle that allegedly trespassed at a Treeby Bush Forever site, destroying fencing and native habitat.
Covert cameras placed in the area by the City filmed a white four wheel drive with dual rear tyres, an open tray back and without registration plates, gaining access to Rose Shanks Reserve, via a dirt track off Warton Road in Treeby at 1am on 4 January.
Two remotely operated covert cameras reveal the vehicle was in the reserve for less than 10 minutes with the driver or a passenger allegedly cutting the fence to gain access, causing $500 damage.
City of Cockburn Environment Manager Chris Beaton said a vehicle also trespassed at the reserve prior to 18 December, 2017, destroying a fence which cost $1,200 to replace.
He said cameras were placed in the Jandakot Regional Park in an effort to catch repeat offenders, which were costing ratepayers thousands of dollars in repair bills, crushing flora in a significant banksia restoration area, disturbing nearby landowners, local wildlife and degrading the landscape.
Banksia Eucalypt Woodland in the reserve is a listed Threatened Ecological Community by the Federal Department of Environment and Energy and penalties apply for unauthorised clearing.
And the trespass and damage incidents are not isolated. It is estimated in the past three years, fence and gate repairs due to criminal damage has cost ratepayers more than $60,000 a year.
“A common reason for and symptom of trespass is illegal dumping and littering, which costs the City more than $500,000 per annum in clean up, and this is a conservative estimate,” Mr Beaton said.
Cockburn Police Officer in Charge, Sen Sgt James Bradley said illegal off road activities were increasing in Cockburn reserves but there were hefty fines for those successfully prosecuted.
During the Christmas break, three gates and locks were stolen from Denis De Young Reserve in Banjup, costing $2,100 to replace and following a trespass event last October, costing $2000 in repairs, Cockburn Police charged offenders with two counts each of trespass and criminal damage.
In a separate incident, three youths, including a juvenile, were charged with three counts of criminal damage (arson) for allegedly setting fire to a bench seat and table at Eco Park, Atwell. They faced court last December with more appearances due this year.
“We have worked with the City on several occasions in the past to achieve successful prosecutions for trespass and criminal damage and support their efforts to reduce these incidents,” Sen Sgt Bradley said.
“This vehicle filmed in Treeby is very distinctive which means someone may recognise it. It appears to be unregistered, which is an offence, and footage clearly shows it trespassing on private property.”
People with any information about this or any other trespass, damage or dumping crimes in the City can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or speak to Environmental Services at Cockburn council on 9411 3444.