Livestock

Sheep stolen from Shepparton saleyards

By Country News

Police are continuing to investigate the theft of a number of sheep from Shepparton Regional Saleyards earlier this month.

The 29 fat lambs and one ewe were stolen from the saleyards during the early hours of May 18, just hours before they were set to be sold at the regular Friday sheep sale.

Police last week released CCTV footage of a tray truck carrying what is believed to be a homemade stock crate.

The truck arrived at the New Dookie Rd property just after 1am, offenders loaded the crate with the stock and left the property just after 2am.

The truck is described as an Isuzu single rear axle tray or similar and the passenger side headlight is not working.

The owners of 10 of the stolen fat lambs said they were disgusted to hear the news and shocked to hear that someone would take advantage of farmers dropping their stock off for sale.

The combined value of the stock is estimated to be $3700 and saleyards manager Ian McDermott said they would be beefing up security at the yards.

The theft comes after Nagambie police earlier this month urged residents to take extra care of their stock following a number of farming thefts in the area.

Between November last year and April this year, about $40000 worth of sheep were stolen from random farming properties in Nagambie.

Senior Constable Warren Tait urged people to keep a watchful eye on their stock at all times.

The cost of stock theft is estimated to reach into the millions of dollars each year across northern Victoria and southern NSW, yet it is believed livestock theft as a whole is under-reported.

Research by Federation University’s Alistair Harkness, who specialises in farm crime, found as many as half of stock theft incidents go unreported to police.

Farmers are encouraged to regularly check on stock, keep paddock, shed and stockyard gates closed and locked, and keep fences and gates in good working order to deter thieves.

■Anyone with information is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at: www.crimestoppersvic.com.au