Wild deer on the menu
Divided on strategy
FARMERS and landowners are being urged to be vigilant about theft from farms after almost 600 sheep were stolen from a South-East property.
Farmer Marcus Weeding is calling for stricter penalties for thefts from farms after his sheep were stolen between January and June this year.
The value of the sheep stolen from the Runnymede farm was around $100,000.
Back in 2015 a Campania farmer lost 705 sheep as well as nine Angus cows and one Red Angus cow to thieves.
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association president Wayne Johnston said the frequency of thefts from farming properties “comes and goes”, depending on the opportunities for stealing.
“Livestock is worth quite a lot of money, along with other items stolen. Farmers and landholders need to be vigilant as to who is roaming about at unusual times,” Mr Johnston said.
Mr Weeding said it could be difficult to stop stock theft when farmers are looking after thousands of hectares of farmland.
“Stock theft is a fairly big problem, down South as well as up North,'' he said.
“A lot of farmers don’t report it. It’s fairly significant to your bottom line.”
Mr Weeding said livestock theft also had “a dramatic knock on-effect” because the producers lost not only sheep or cattle but but also future offspring.
“I reckon there should be stiffer penalties for stock theft because it’s people’s livelihood they’re playing with,” Mr Weeding said.
“If you went and knocked off a bank you’d be sent to prison for that same sort of money.”
Police believe the sheep raids must have been highly organised because of the numbers involved.
“Both stealing events would require a significant amount of organisation, including multiple visits to both property boundaries with large transport vehicles,” Senior Constable Shane Tilley said.
It is thought the sheep were stolen in between being counted, drenched and shorn.
“Police understand some farmers don’t have contact with their sheep for extended periods of time given the size of some farms,” he said.
“But [we] urge all farmers to be more vigilant in terms of accounting for their sheep given the current value each has in the open market.”
Information relating to either theft can be reported to Richmond police on 131 444 or to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or online at crimestopperstas.com.au.