Two men will appear in Fremantle Magistrates Court in May after WA Police charged them with damage offences over their alleged activities at Rose Shanks Reserve in Treeby in January and March this year.
Police have laid charges against the men – a 30-year-old from Forrestdale and a 19-year-old from Leeming – and cautioned a juvenile boy, after fences and gates at the reserve were destroyed or damaged as their cars smashed through them to allegedly gain access to the reserve.
The charges were laid with the assistance of footage captured on covert CCTV cameras operated remotely by the City of Cockburn.
The 19-year-old faces reparation costs of $968 while the 30-year-old faces reparation of $500 for damage allegedly caused to gates and fences at the reserve.
Constable Darren Igglesden from Cockburn Police said several other juveniles and young men and women aged 18-20 with no prior criminal history, were cautioned for trespassing at the reserve and their details recorded on a WA Police database for future reference.
“I have spoken to them all and advised them that if they or their vehicles are sighted in Rose Shanks again, summons will be issued. Alerts have been placed on all involved and their vehicles,” Const Igglesden said.
City of Cockburn Environment Manager Chris Beaton said cameras were placed in the Jandakot Regional Park in an effort to catch repeat offenders.
They 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.
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 2017 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.
“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.
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 08 9411 3444.