Residents of a bushfire-ravaged NSW South Coast town have erected a warning sign for looters.
“To looters,” the sign, which was placed near the community noticeboard in South Durras, read.
“We will not let you steal from us.
“If you come you will not go back.
“We have a woodchipper, crab pots and boats.
“You have been warned.”
It adds, “we are vigilant”.
The town, northeast of Batemans Bay, was evacuated as bushfires ravaged the south coast.
The nearby Currowan and Clyde Mountain fires burnt through nearly 400,000 hectares.
On Facebook, people shared their disgust and horror at the idea of looting during the bushfire crisis.
“Why do we see the worst of some people when others are working hard to help?” one man wrote.
A woman asked why anyone would “stoop so low”.
“Absolutely disgusting behaviour,” another woman wrote.
“How can people be so nasty and thoughtless adding theft to such a loss?”
A similar warning sign was photographed last week in the NSW town of Conjola.
“U loot, we shoot,” it reads.
A picture of the ominous sign was snapped by an AAP photographer and has been shared widely online.
Conjola Park was devastated by the New Year’s Eve fires, with more than 50 homes destroyed.
NSW Police told Yahoo News Australia they are urging people to be vigilant and report and “suspicious activity, after unconfirmed social media reports of stealing offences in bushfire-affected areas”.
“Any reports of these criminal acts will be thoroughly investigated,” NSW Police said.
“This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated by police or the wider community, and we will take immediate action to bring these people before the courts.
“While looting will not be tolerated by the NSW Police, neither will any acts of violence towards alleged looters.”
They also reminded people “not to take the law into their own hands” and reminded “that there are extra police on duty, patrolling and protecting the bushfire-affected areas”.
On Saturday, NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys issued a warning following reported break-ins and stealing offences within bushfire-affected areas.
“Police and emergency services are at the ready to prevent loss of life, livestock and property, and I am disgusted that anyone would target these vulnerable communities at this time,” Deputy Comm Worboys said.
“People in these areas have already lost members of their communities, seen property destroyed and suffered emotional turmoil from the recent fire activity, they do not need the added stress of looters stealing what little they might have left.
“Local police numbers are being bolstered by officers from specialist commands to ensure regular patrols are conducted throughout the bushfire-affected areas.”
Another sign which reads, “looters will be shot” was also photographed south of Nowra.
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