PERMANENT registered ear marks were crucial in solving the theft of $100,000 worth of sheep in New South Wales recently and Queensland police are distributing the ear mark of another flock stolen near Stanthorpe.
NSW Police has reported that two men charged with stealing $100,000 worth of sheep from a West Wyalong property and removing the animals’ National Livestock Identification System ear tags appeared before the West Wyalong Court on May 26 2016.
NSW Police said Noel Grintell, 85, pleaded guilty to both charges and was given a two year good behaviour bond with $2500 compensation ordered to the victim.
Jeffery Bolte, 65yrs, pleaded guilty to removing livestock identification device (NLIS ear tags) and not guilty to being an accessory after the fact to stealing of 609 sheep. He will re-appear at West Wyalong Local Court on June 30 2016.
Search led to identification of lambs
On March 31 this year 609 head of Merino lambs were stolen from a property located on Cattle’s Lane, Calleen, before being transported to another property on Merrengreen Road, Calleen.
Inquiries made by NSW Rural Crime Investigators led to the execution of a search warrant at a West Wyalong property on April 1 2016.
After conducting a muster of the property, 609 Merino lambs – valued at $100,000 – were seized as exhibits. NLIS tags had been removed from 339 lambs. The livestock have since been returned to their owner, police said. During the muster a further 397 head of sheep were impounded by an external agency.
Rural crime police have encouraged the farming community to be vigilant of unusual activity around rural areas. This incident also highlights the importance of using appropriate methods of livestock identification such as registered ear marks, police said, but fleece length and age were also used to identify the sheep. A lack of property-to-property movements noted on the NLIS database also hindered the investigation.
Griffith crime manager detective acting inspector Tim Clark said the owner of the stolen sheep were able to be identified with the aid of a registered ear mark.
Queensland police searching for Pikedale sheep
Queensland police are also distributing the ear mark details of a large number of sheep reported missing a rural farm property at Pikedale, west of Stanthorpe, between October 11, 2015 and May 3, 2016.
The sheep are described as mixed age Merino ewes. They had NLIS tags QGAA0091 fitted to their ears, a registered earmark out of the top of their ear and a paint brand “Y” on their backs.
Police are seeking assistance from members of the public to help reunite the missing sheep with their owner. If anybody has any information that can assist with the investigation into this matter, they are asked to contact police from the Toowoomba Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad on 4614 2114, Policelink on 131444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Quote QP1600812612 when reporting to police.
Detective Sergeant Brendan Murphy said police had to prove ownership of any livestock located in an investigation.
“There is no better way to prove ownership than a permanent mark.”
He said it was also important that livestock owners kept good records of stock movements and location, any sheep losses as a result of weather or paddock conditions, or wild dog attacks. These figures had to be taken into consideration when theft complaints were investigated.
“It is most important that records be kept as accurate as possible.”
Police urge the rural community to report all forms of crime to their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.