Garbos opened gates for thieves

THIEVES who targeted the Somerset Regional Council's Esk depot waited for a garbage vehicle to arrive before escaping in a stolen utility.

Police are investigating the theft of a safe and a vehicle from the Brisbane Valley Highway premises in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Somerset Regional Council Acting Chief Executive Officer Chris Payne said several offices were also ransacked during the morning raid at the depot, which is positioned near the town's visitor information centre.

"Most of the doors in the depot were broken where they have tried to gain access," Mr Payne said.

"They took a small safe containing money belonging to the staff social club.

"Apart from that, and the ute, we can't see that anything else has been stolen."

The utility - which was used by the council foreman - was later located dumped on Esk-Kilcoy Rd, with no major damage reported.

The thieves risked being caught out by waiting for a garbage contractor to enter the depot through a locked gate at about 4.30am Tuesday.

Mr Payne said the contractor did not gain a good description of the offenders as he did not believe that anything suspicious was going on at the time.

"It's a council vehicle on council land so he didn't think anything of it," Mr Payne said.

How the thieves gained access to the depot is still the subject of speculation, however one possibility is that they entered through a section of fence which was slightly damaged when floodwater swept through the town of Esk in January.

"It's not a major hole in the fence," Mr Payne said.

"This is certainly the first time I know of that the depot has been broken into.

"It's reasonably rare for this type of crime to occur on council property."

All damaged doors at the depot have since been repaired.

Esk police are investigating the break-in and vehicle theft.

Anyone with information that could assist police investigations should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Esk police station on 5424 1100.

Information can be provided anonymously and rewards apply in some cases.



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