Australian police hunt four men who set saltwater crocodiles loose in Darwin school
Published 22/08/2016 | 07:57
Police in Australia's Northern Territory are searching for four young men who broke into a school near Darwin and releasing three saltwater crocodiles.
Four men were captured by CCTV forcing the reptiles in Taminmin College at Humpty Doo, near Darwin, before breaking in and ransacking the front office of the school.
The three female reptiles, of whom the biggest is two metres long, were all in poor condition and may have to be euthanised, said senior constable David Gregory.
"The ranger that turned up was very concerned for them - they had their mouths taped up," Mr Gregory said.
"They haven't seen water for a long time and are undernourished."
Luke McLaren, the ranger who helped rescue the animals, told ABC local radio on Monday morning that the crocodiles were in poor physical condition.
“Basically skin and bones, not much meat left on them; they were really quiet and easy to catch,” Mr McLaren said.
“Really poor skin condition, like they haven’t been kept in water for quite a while, haven’t been fed, and one of them looked to be blind [as a result of neglect].”
It is believed the reptiles came from a crocodile farm, he added.
Mr Gregory said that police are appealing to the public for information as to the identity of the offenders, who had their heads covered when they broke into the school.
Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species and interfering with them is a criminal offence, punishable by fines of up to AUD $77,000 (£45,000) or a jail term of up to five years.