THIEVES have broken into the Camp Nelson scout facility at Howlong and made off with nearly $4000 worth of machinery and other equipment.
Bolt cutters were used to break open locks around the site before dozens of items, including a new ride-on lawnmower and four kayaks, were stolen.
Three of the kayaks were later found tied together and floating close to the banks of the Murray River.
Four couches, four trestle tables, a brushcutter, a chainsaw and a 5.2-metre extension ladder were also missing from the site.
The items were taken from two shipping containers which had been forced open by the thieves.
The break-in was reported to police yesterday, however it was uncertain when the break-in had actually occurred, as the site had been largely unused since October 29.
Riverina Scouts district commissioner Sue Smith said a neighbour had seen the ride-on lawnmower out in front of one of the containers on Boxing Day but had thought it was someone from the Scouts group getting ready to do some mowing.
“It would have seemed fairly innocuous at the time but unfortunately we didn’t realise the extent of it all until we got down to the site today,” Mrs Smith said.
“It’s pretty poor really, it’s extremely frustrating to lose so many valuable items.
“All the things that have been taken are really vital to the running of the camp.”
Mrs Smith said it would have taken considerable time and effort to organise the break-in, as well as simply moving the amount of stolen goods.
“This would have to have been planned beforehand by someone, it’s not like a bunch of kids have broken in and caused a bit of trouble, this is far more concerning,” Mrs Smith said.
The theft has been reported to the Corowa police, who have begun an investigation.
Anyone with information about the thefts or saw anything unusual around the site should contact Corowa Police Station on (02) 6033 1144, or Crime Stoppers.