A man has been arrested by NSW Police Rural Crime Investigators over a scam targeting farmers from drought-stricken communities across NSW, including those in the Hunter Valley.
Earlier this week, Strike Force Woden was established to investigate reports of a man advertising hay bales on social media for a discounted price, taking an initial deposit for the fodder, but not delivering any product.
Police received reports of victims in the Mid North Coast, the Hunter Valley, the Southern Highlands, the Hills, and the Oxley, Nepean, and Port Stephens areas.
At about 7.40am Thursday, Strike Force Woden investigators, assisted by Bass Hill Region Enforcement Squad, executed a search warrant at Villawood and arrested a 27-year-old man.
He was taken to Fairfield Police Station, where he is expected to be charged.
Earlier, police said the fraud was not isolated to a specific area with reports received at the Mid North Coast, the Hunter Valley, the Southern Highlands, the Hills, and the Oxley, Nepean, and Port Stephens areas.
A number of people have lost money as a result of the scam.
NSW Police Force State Rural Crime Coordinator Det Insp Cameron Whiteside urged farmers and landholders to take extra care when purchasing fodder, water and other supplies to get them through the drought.
"These are difficult times, and it's disgusting to think anyone would seek to take advantage of people who have already been through so much," Det Insp Whiteside said earlier this week.
"I would encourage anyone buying supplies online to only deal with people and businesses that have proven to be genuine in the past.
"Where possible, it is best to only hand over money until the goods are in your possession.