An ongoing, proactive operation to prevent livestock theft by disrupting the movement of stolen stock within NSW will be rolled out across Southern Region this week.
Operation Stock Check is a high-visibility strategy which will allow officers of all ranks to inspect vehicles carrying livestock to identify and target loads which may have been stolen.
Livestock theft has a significant impact on farmers across Lake Illawarra, Monaro, Murrumbidgee, Murray River, Riverina, South Coast, Wollongong and The Hume Police Districts, with a total of 406 incidents recorded within these areas in the past three years.
These figures include the theft of approximately 20,354 sheep and 864 cattle, representing a reported value of more than $3.1 million for Southern Region.
Southern Region Sponsor for Rural Crime, Riverina Police District Commander, Superintendent Bob Noble, has welcomed the operation which will roll out across Southern Region this week.
Supt Noble said livestock theft can have a devastating impact on farmers and is a crime which is taken very seriously.
“This operation will allow police to do everything we can to protect the livelihoods of our farmers, who have enough to deal with without having to worry about criminals stealing their stock,” Supt Noble said.
“Police in Southern Region can now stop any vehicle carrying livestock in order to confirm the origin of the stock being moved.
“Officers will also be interacting with farmers and engaging with members of their rural communities to ensure they are protecting their stock in every way they can, as prevention is key.”
Rural Crime Coordinator, Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside, said Operation Stock Check is not targeting truck drivers, but criminals.
“All vehicles large and small will be stopped, and paperwork checked, to ensure the animals being moved are not stolen livestock,” Det Insp Whiteside said.
“I want to remind all legitimate carriers, along with farmers that convey their stock in smaller vehicles and trailers, to have their paperwork in order so we can quickly identify those who are doing the wrong thing.”
The Rural Crime Prevention Team was created by Commissioner Fuller in late 2017 to strengthen the NSW Police Force’s focus on rural crime.
The team has since grown to 52 specialised officers dedicated to investigating rural crime, located at 26 non-metropolitan locations within NSW.
Anyone with information about livestock theft is urged to contact their local police, a member of the Rural Crime Prevention Team, Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.