The Victorian Farmers Federation has warned members to keep livestock records and tagging details up to date to help counter cattle and sheep thefts.
The VFF said it had been made aware of several recent incidents involving cattle theft and this week Suffolk sheep valued at more than $10,000 were stolen from a property north of Melbourne.
The 26 sheep were stolen from the Toolangi property of John and Wendy Busacco.
Detective leading senior constable Andrew Dunsford from the Alexandra Crime Investigation Unit said there had not been many livestock thefts in the area.
“It is not a prevalent problem. This is the first one of considerable numbers.”
Detective senior constable Dunsford said 76 Suffolk sheep – lambs, ewes and two rams – were stolen from the property.
Police have had information that two vehicles were seen travelling through the nearby town of Buxton, one with sheep, early Tuesday morning.
“We are looking at that but we can’t connect the two at the moment – it may be just coincidence.”
He said the people involved in the theft may have had some considerable knowledge of the property’s layout and could have involved the use of a sheep dog.
VFF aware of several cattle thefts
The VFF said several recent cattle theft incidents were likely prompted by the recent increase in cattle prices.
VFF members are encouraged to:
• Tag all animals with the correct National Livestock Identification (NLIS) and ensure all details entered under your PIC are correct and up to date.
•Maintain accurate stock records showing the number of births, deaths and sales for each class of livestock for each year.
•Close and padlock gates that provide access to the property.
•Locate loading ramps and yards in clear sight.
THE VFF said it had a close working relationship with Victoria Police through the Agricultural Liaison Program — a cohort of sworn police members investigates reports of rural crime and implements proactive measures to reduce its incidence. Details of local AGLO contacts can be found at this link:
VFF members are encouraged to report any unusual transport , livestock sales or activity in their area to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visitwww.crimestoppers.com.au
Source: VFF and Victoria Police