Chris Horton inspects what's left of the timber jetty and looks in vain for missing gear.
Chris Horton inspects what's left of the timber jetty and looks in vain for missing gear. Trevor Veale

Jetty on Coffs Creek burnt

CHRIS Horton went fishing for crab dinner but ended up with an empty plate and a tale to tell.

"I've been crabbing for about 40 years, "Chris said.

"Two years ago I caught so many crabs that I got sick of eating them and gave it a rest last year. But on Saturday I went down to Coffs creek opposite the Botanic Garden which is a great spot.

"Me and my mate put our crab traps in then waited about an hour before leaving them in for the night and going home.”

In the early hours of Sunday, Chris got more than he bargained for when he returned to check his trap.

"I went down to the creek about 5am to see what was happening and the little timber jetty was partially on fire. I couldn't believe it. Everything is so dry now, who knows what would have happened if the fire had gotten any bigger.

"Somebody had lit a fire on top of the wooden jetty. I quickly put some water on it. After the fire was out I went home and contacted the fire brigade. They've been down there since and put tape at the scene.

"A lot of people use that area, it's busy all day long. Lots of people walk and run around there, it's such a great spot for fishing and crabbing. The timber jetty is part of the boardwalk and now it's quite unstable.

"Destroying it is simply blatant vandalism and disregard for public property. I just want to let people know the jetty isn't safe any more.”

It wasn't just the timber jetty that took a hit.

"All my fishing gear was stolen and whoever did it trashed the place. There were beer cans and dead fish everywhere and plastic bags in the creek, it was a mess.”

Chris reported the theft of his gear to police and to the Department of Primary Industries.

In NSW stealing crabs or crab traps is a criminal offence. Only the owner of a trap should lift or use it, interfering with crabbing gear that you didn't set is a serious offence and carries on-the-spot fines.

NSW Fisheries advises if you have had your fishing gear stolen or have information about the theft of fishing gear, phone Crimestoppers on 1800333000.



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