Central Otago farmers have had an early Christmas present – two men have been charged with stock rustling and police say the case is by no means complete.
The stock thefts have been going on for a couple of years and the charges relate to the theft of about $240,000 worth of stock and equipment but it’s not an isolated case.
The investigation showed no link between the two men and other alleged stock thefts in Central Otago or further afield, Det Evans said.
Such thefts included about 200 in-lamb merino ewes, worth about $40,000, from Ribbonwood Station at Omarama in late September; about 160 merino wethers, worth about $13,000, from Carrick Station in the Nevis Valley in August; and about 1800 merino ewes and an unknown number of lambs, worth about $130,000, from a Queensberry farm block at the end of 2007.
“Police have reviewed other stock theft files from our area as part of this investigation and reiterate that they can find no link between these men and those thefts. Other alleged stock thefts therefore remain unresolved.”
The location of the properties, number of stock and other factors point to people who know the area and are used to working with animals.
The rural grapevine is naming names with good reason but that isn’t the same as evidence that will stand up in court.
We’re all very pleased the police are taking this so seriously because it could happen to any of us.
Federated Farmers Otago president Mike Lord sums up the problem:
If you go on holiday you can lock your house or lock your garage … with a farm it’s just not that simple.”
Even when we’re not on holiday we can’t be in every part of a farm every day and rely on a combination of our own precautions, staff, neighbours and an element of luck to keep stock and property safe.