Ipswich City Council

Media Release

Tree loppers warned by council to be wary of hoax

10 October 2007

TREE loppers operating in South East Queensland should be wary if receiving any calls for service claiming to be from the Ipswich State Emergency Service (SES) Unit.

Ipswich City Council Works Committee Chairperson Councillor Trevor Nardi said about half a dozen companies operating in Ipswich and Brisbane had been stung by a hoax during the past two days.

"Following the storms which have occurred this week someone has been ringing up these tree lopping companies and falsely claiming to be representing the Ipswich SES Unit," Cr Nardi said.

"The caller tells the companies that a 90-year-old woman is trapped in a house by storm debris and sends them to addresses in Travis Rd, Yamanto and Warwick Rd, Yamanto.

"When they arrive at the addresses they have been given they soon find that they have been tricked.

"These calls have not been made by anyone from the Ipswich SES as the organisation does not use tree loppers.

"Removal of trees off houses following storms is usually carried out by SES members, not by outside companies.

"We ask that any businesses being contacted in this way make contact with our Ipswich unit co-ordinator Arie Van Den Ende on 132 500."

Cr Nardi said it appeared that a teenage boy was most likely responsible for the calls according to the companies he contacted.

"His victims to date describe the caller's voice as that of a young boy.

"The Queensland Department of Emergency Services and the Queensland Police Service have been informed about the hoax.

"We hope that by publicising the incidents that have already occurred that other companies will be wary and will be able to avoid also being conned by this person."