Big NSW Police blitz to target livestock theft

Rural Crime Prevention Team launches Operation Stock Check

Big NSW Police blitz to target livestock theft
The operation was launched at the University of New England’s SMART Farm Innovation Centre


NSW Police has launched Operation Stock Check to address livestock theft in the state.

The police force says the operation is to prevent livestock theft by disrupting the movement of stolen stock in western NSW by allowing officers of all ranks to inspect vehicles carrying livestock to identify and target loads which may have been stolen.

A total of 368 incidents have been recorded in the past two years alone and have had an impact on farmers across Central North, New England, Oxley, Central West, Chifley, Orana Mid Western and Barrier Police Districts, according to NSW Police.

It puts the figures at about 20,300 sheep and 1,800 cattle stolen, roughly worth more than $4.3 million.

"This operation is one of a number of steps the NSW Police Force is taking to ensure we do what we can to protect the livelihoods of our farmers, who have enough to deal with without having to worry about criminals stealing their stock," NSW Police commissioner Mick Fuller, who attended the launch event at Armidale on Monday, says.

"Police will now be stopping 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."

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Rural Crime coordinator detective inspector Cameron Whiteside reassures industry 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," Whiteside says.

"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 Fuller in late 2017 and has since grown to 52 specialised officers dedicated to investigating rural crime, located at 26 non-metropolitan locations within NSW.


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