Burnt out service station targeted by thieves and the curious

Yanchep Police have increased patrols around the burnt out Yanchep Service Station after it has been targeted by thieves and trespassers. Picture: Anita McInnes

YANCHEP Police are investigating after incidents including the stealing of a pair of personalised number plates from the Yanchep Service Station, which was extensively damaged during the December bushfire.

A WA Police spokeswoman said police have also increased patrols of the area and any people found trespassing may be prosecuted.

She said the public should also be aware the site could be a significant health and safety risk due to contamination from asbestos and other hazardous materials resulting from the fire.

“The public are urged to remain behind the fencing which has been erected to prevent entry,’’ she said.

The personalised number plates stolen from the Yanchep Service Station premises are  LO1953.

One of the Yanchep Service Station owners Mel Vaz said within hours of Yanchep Beach Rd opening to the public after the bushfire people had been trespassing and breaking into the house next to the service station.

Mr Vaz said tools had been used to try to break into an old unused safe and the house had been ransacked but valuables had already been removed.

“The house and burnt down shop and yard have been regularly trespassed upon by people who think their curiosity and need for updates to their social media mean that they think they have the right to enter private property for social media fame,” he said.

“One trespasser who was confronted by one of the owners of Yanchep Service Station said that he wanted to get photos and video for his Vlog because people had the right to see what a burnt down service station looked like.

“When it was pointed out that it was very dangerous to be wearing shorts and thongs onto an active fire ground with toxic hazards from all the burnt chemicals, plastics etc around he said that he wore the thongs on purpose so that he would be able to feel the heat on the ground and if they started to melt he would know that it was too dangerous to keep walking around.

“He could then easily wash poisons off his feet and legs when he got home.

“He also said that because the fence posts had burnt down and the wire was on the ground it meant that the property was open to the public.’’

Mr Vaz said people had been stealing burnt metal, possibly for sale to scrap metal recyclers, and others have been combing through the burnt out wreckage of the family business looking to steal anything that the bushfire left behind.

“They have been exposing themselves and possibly their family to asbestos and arsenic from burnt treated pine.

“There are also many other poisons and toxins that are in the burnt remains because of the many items that the service station sold, including petroleum products and chemicals which can become toxic and poisonous when exposed to heat and fire.’’

Yanchep Police said they encouraged anyone with information regarding incidents at the Yanchep Service Station to contact police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.