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Livestock

Thieves hit sheep properties

Keep an eye out: More than 1000 sheep have gone missing from western Victoria. Photo by Geoff Adams

Police are investigating the theft of more than $255,000 worth of Merino sheep from four properties across western Victoria, reported over the past five weeks.

Officers from Hamilton, Ararat and Bacchus Marsh Police Service Areas are investigating the large-scale thefts from properties in Cavendish, Lake Bolac, Clunes and Coleraine.

They are looking into the possibility the thefts could be linked.

More than 1100 sheep aged six months or older have been reported stolen, including:

  • 339 sheep from a property in Cavendish, believed to have been stolen sometime between October and November.
  • 450 sheep from a property in Lake Bolac, believed to have been stolen sometime between October and December.
  • 240 sheep from a property in Clunes, believed to have been stolen sometime between November and December.
  • 100 sheep from a property in Coleraine, believed to have been stolen sometime in early December.

Police suspect a truck or multiple trips with a small trailer may have been used to steal the sheep.

Inspector Paul Hargreaves, from the farm crime co-ordination unit, said there was a huge economic loss from sheep theft of this nature, but despite this many incidents were not being reported to police, which hinders their ability to prevent, disrupt or respond to incidents of livestock theft.

“While we acknowledge the work of local farmers in protecting their livestock, the farming community including farmers, neighbours, stock agents and transporters can always do better by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and reporting anything out of the ordinary to police,” he said.

If you’re the victim of livestock theft, contact your local police station or the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. Phone 000 for immediate assistance.