Local NSW farmers will benefit from an ongoing operation to prevent livestock theft when it is rolled out across Southern Region this week.
Operation Stock Check is a high-visibility strategy which will allow officers of all ranks to inspect vehicles carrying livestock to identify and target loads which may have been stolen.
Livestock theft has a significant impact on farmers across Lake Illawarra, Monaro, Murrumbidgee, Murray River, Riverina, South Coast, Wollongong and the Hume police districts, with a total of 406 incidents recorded within these areas in the past three years.
These figures include the theft of about 20,354 sheep and 864 cattle, representing a reported value of more than $3.1 million for Southern Region.
Southern Region Sponsor for Rural Crime Superintendent Bob Noble welcomed the operation and said livestock theft had a devastating impact on farmers and was a crime which is taken very seriously.
“This operation will allow police to do everything we can to protect the livelihoods of our farmers, who have enough to deal with without having to worry about criminals stealing their stock,” he said.
“Police in Southern Region can now stop any vehicle carrying livestock in order to confirm the origin of the stock being moved.
“Officers will also be interacting with farmers and engaging with members of their rural communities to ensure they are protecting their stock in every way they can, as prevention is key.”
Rural crime co-ordinator, Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside, said Operation Stock Check was not targeting truck drivers, but criminals.
“All vehicles large and small will be stopped, and paperwork checked, to ensure the animals being moved are not stolen livestock,” he said.
“I want to remind all legitimate carriers, along with farmers that convey their stock in smaller vehicles and trailers, to have their paperwork in order so we can quickly identify those who are doing the wrong thing.”