Power failure gives fuel thieves a chance

2008-07-17 00:00

A lengthy power outage in Richmond, caused by a transformer that tripped, gave thieves the cover of dark they needed to steal R14 000 worth of diesel from a dairy farmer.

Farmers Anthony and Carol Morris told The Witness yesterday that their electricity supply was interrupted at 3.30 pm on Wednesday afternoon, and inquiries to Eskom yielded the bad news.

“Eventually, after first listening to a recording that said there were no outages or problems in KZN, I managed to get hold of someone who said that there was a major breakdown at the Riverdale sub-station and that they were waiting for parts, so the power would be off for some time,” said Carol.

She said they then faced running their dairy farm on diesel to keep their milk cold and their machinery going.

“We started up a tractor powered with diesel that we keep in big tanks in the farmyard.”

But their usual farmyard lighting was off overnight and when her husband went outside yesterday morning, he discovered that one of his diesel tanks had been completely drained.

The thieves had stolen 36-metre-long rubber irrigation pipes from a pasture and connected them up to make a length of 150 metres, joining them to the diesel tank once they had smashed the lock. They then drained the 1 200-litre tank dry.

Carol said truck tyre tracks were found at the end of the irrigation line and she suspects the thieves filled plastic containers with diesel, loaded them on to the truck and left.

“We cannot claim from insurance because the tanks should have been enclosed in a building. It’s a disaster. Diesel is like gold these days. The public should know what farmers put up with.”

She suspects the intruders had inside information and said that they have another tank that could be used to power the tractor until the electricity supply was restored.

Koos Marais of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union’s Security Desk said that although no other similar cases have been reported to him, there is no doubt that the theft of fuel will become a trend as the price of it spirals.

He said farmers with the capacity to store fuel should also take every precaution to secure it adequately.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan confirmed that a case is being investigated in connection with the incident.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.