Cobram detectives are continuing to investigate the theft of nearly 200 sheep, valued between $30,000 and $35,000, from a property at Tungamah.
Detective Sergeant Marcus Boyd said 181 South Suffolk/Merino-cross lambs were allegedly stolen from the Lawrence Rd property between September and December 20, last year.
“We’re chipping away, still looking for that snippet of information from someone who may have noticed something out of the ordinary, during that time frame,” Detective Sergeant Boyd said.
“It’s a kick in the guts.”
The lambs were “well-bred”, in good condition and were close to being ready for market.
They were all carrying orange ear tags.
The theft was discovered when the sheep were drafted for sale, after shearing on September 22. Most of the animals then went to the abattoirs at Bordertown, SA, while others went through the yards at Bendigo.
Det Sgt Boyd said the theft might be linked to an incident, in mid-November “when the owners found a mob of about 80 on the road”.
“That was a bit intriguing at the time,” he said.
Det Sgt Boyd said the theft was carried out by someone “well-versed” in stock handling and movement.
“You are looking at a thief who is well-equipped, possibly with dogs and with the capacity to put that many animals on a vehicle,” he said.
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Victorian Farmers Federation livestock group president Leonard Vallance said it was disappointing farmers hadn’t seen any action on rural crime, since last year’s State election.
“I notice that one hoon driver gets about 20 policemen chasing him around, but good, honest criminals stealing sheep are not important,” Mr Vallance said.
He again called for a dedicated stock squad.
“The lack of police resourcing in rural areas is absolute nonsense,” he said.
He said he wasn’t surprised by the latest theft.
“Someone had to hold them, transport them, retag them and provide the paperwork for them to be sold,” he said.