Security fencing stretching some 100m has been the big news story in an Australian city – after a newspaper reported that it was stolen in broad daylight by thieves dressed as contractors.

The Daily Advertiser, a newspaper for Wagga Wagga, a city in New South Wales, reported the fencing had been stolen in its weekend edition, publishing a front page headline that read "DAYLIGHT ROBBERY - Brazen thieves help themselves to fences".

This caused the director of the building company responsible to have an "oh my God" moment when he returned from out of town, the newspaper said.

However, it seems the incident was actually the result of a "monumental mix up". The rumour is that the "thieves" were indeed workers working legitimately – it's just that they'd removed the wrong fencing by mistake.

"More will be known tomorrow but it would appear there's been some mix-up in the taking down of the fence," Wagga police inspector Jeffrey Barr told the newspaper.

"I don't know the exact details but from what we can gather a legitimate contractor was told to take down a temporary security fence on Dobney Avenue and he's taken down the wrong one," he added.ADNFCR-3337-ID-800209238-ADNFCR