THE NSW State Emergency Service (SES) Kempsey Unit has had a number of solar panels stolen from its Kempsey Headquarters in River St sometime last week.
As a result, the solar electricity generating system at the volunteer unit has had its capacity reduced until insurance claims are processed and repair works undertaken.
NSW SES Kempsey Unit controller May Gill was shocked when it was discovered that two solar panels had been stolen from the roof of one of the buildings.
“I’m disappointed that someone in the community has gone to a lot of trouble to steal the panels and that only half the panels have been working since the theft," Mrs Gill said.
“The position of the panels on the roof means they are difficult to see and to access.
“Therefore we are not entirely sure when the theft occurred but it’s now likely that our power bill will increased and that's an expense the SES doesn't need.”
It is thought the theft would have been perpetrated by persons who had some knowledge of solar panel operation and electrical works. The panels are of a commercial grade and the theft was obviously a planned and targeted operation that would have required the use of specialist equipment.
NSW SES Kempsey Unit media officer Greg Gill said “I’m sure our volunteers will be checking the roof regularly in the future to ensure that all the panels are there and the security company will be doing extra patrols to minimise the chances of this happening again".
“If people see, hear or know of any persons who may have recently acquired two similar type panels to those stolen from the Kempsey SES then they should contact CrimeStoppers and provide information to the police,” Mr Gill said.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the NSW Police Assistance Line 131-444.