It's long been an unspoken edict that you don't go onto rural properties when nobody's home - and you certainly don't help yourself to another's gear and equipment.

But the message to owners from law enforcers is that the days of leaving your place without locking the homestead, shed and front gate are over.

A spate of thefts on rural properties in Queensland's far north has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of dollars worth of motorbikes, quad bikes, fire fighter pumps, generators and tools taken from sheds in the Tully-Innisfail area, as well as a large quantity of rosegum timber stolen from a Tinaroo Dam property. In every instance except one, the stolen items were unsecured.

Mark Kerswell, from the Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad, says people are being naive if they don't protect their property from thieves who often view farms as "soft targets".

"It's a sad state of affairs where you have to lock up your own equipment to stop people taking it, but we need keys out of quad bikes, keys out of equipment, locks on sheds and a lot of the time we do tell people to get security cameras.

"If you get a registration number and a face of someone who's in your shed unlawfully on a security camera, it makes my job and the job of police very, very easy.

"And often it's not just the one shed that they've gone into, it's a number of sheds. If we can identify a person who's broken into one farm, often that leads to investigations into a number of farms that have been broken into and property taken. So, we do need to secure our properties."

Detective Sergeant Mark Kerswell says the motivation of thieves is the same regardless of where they strike, but rural thefts are usually planned and organised.

"I mean, a quad bike is a sizeable item, you have to be prepared with a ute, a trailer or a number of people to do this. It's not just turn up in your Toyota Yaris and take off with a quad bike, you need the right equipment and you need some sort of planning, most of the time."

It's still not known if the recent incidents are linked, but police would like more information.

"I always say someone knows what's happened, whether it's the person whose done it or friends and relatives of the person whose done it, someone will know and they're the kind of people we need to speak to to find out where the property is and whose responsible."

If you have any information that would assist police in these matters, please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

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