Duffers steal thousands of dollars worth of livestock

SHEEP and cattle are making record money in the saleyards and that is enough to prompt duffers to steal big numbers of stock.

Marrar, Downside and Old Junee have been hot spots for theft in the past month.

Mark “Buster” Langtry farms at Marrar and told The Rural he has had 16 Angus steers stolen.

The steers, which were ready to be sold, had an estimated market value of $24,300. 

Mr Langtry said this was the first time his place had been affected by stock theft and the cattle were fitted with the compulsory National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLS) ear-tags. 

Nearby at Downside, in another incident last month, 170 lambs were stolen and had an estimated value of up to $40,000. 

Talk that stock theft was rife in the Riverina was on the lips of buyers and vendors during the Wagga sheep and lamb sale on Thursday.

Detective Senior Constable Scott Blanchard of Wagga’s Rural Crime Investigation Unit confirmed more reports of stock theft in the region.

“We are aware of the theft of steers (at Marrar) and this is under investigation,” he said. 

Detective Blanchard wouldn’t comment further on the stage of the investigation or potential charges relating to the 170 lambs which were reported missing.

However, he said reports had come from producers at Marrar and Old Junee about other incidences. 

“We had 80 lambs reported stolen from a Marrar property between July 2 and July 24 and they had been finished in a feedlot,” he said. 

There was another incident of 170 lambs, which were considered “heavy and finished” or ready for market, which were taken from a location between Old Junee and Marrar on August 16. 

Between August 15 and August 22 there was another report of 190 lambs being taken from an Illabo property.

Detective Blanchard said there was “certainly someone highly active” in the area.

That said, evidence hadn’t come to hand to suggest the thefts were related. 

“But we are investigating,” he said.

Detective Blanchard said unfortunately the NLIS tags could easily be cut out and replaced. He said earmarking was still useful in both sheep and cattle and branding was helpful too.