Crocodiles let loose in Australian school


CCTV shows four men breaking into the school and dumping three crocodiles up to 6.5ft long.

Police are searching for four men who let three crocodiles loose in an Australian school during a break-in. The young men were captured on CCTV smashing through a glass door at Taminmin college in Humpty Doo, 20 miles south of Darwin, early on Sunday morning.

The suspects, whose heads were covered with scarves, then dumped the reptiles one by one in the main office.

In the footage, the men were seen ransacking the room; including throwing a computer screen on the floor, and about 30 seconds later ran off.

Parks and wildlife rangers were called to the scene to safely remove the female saltwater crocodiles, whose mouths were taped up. Ranger Luke McLaren told ABC local radio the reptiles, which measured up to 2m (6.5ft) long, were in a poor condition.

The police have asked for the public’s assistance to identify the men.

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Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species and interfering with them is a criminal offence.

He said they may have to be destroyed.

‘Basically skin and bones, not much meat left on them; they were really quiet and easy to catch,’ he said.

Really poor skin condition, like they haven’t been kept in water for quite a while, hasn’t been fed, and one of them looked to be blind.  It is believed the crocodiles came from a crocodile farm, he said.

‘We’ll determine what farm they’re from and we’ll try to take them back to that farm but looking at their condition it’s likely they’ll have to be destroyed,’ Mr McLaren added.

Senior Constable David Gregory said: ‘The ranger that turned up was very concerned for them – they had their mouths taped up.

‘They haven’t seen water for a long time and are undernourished.’

Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species and interfering with them is a criminal offence, punishable by fines of up to $77,000 or a jail term of up to five years.

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