Queensland Police are reminding farmers to remain vigilant against livestock theft after two men were sentenced following an operation by Cloncurry Major and Organised Crime Squad (MOCS) Rural in what is believed to be one of Queensland’s largest cattle theft cases in decades.
A 58-year-old Capalaba man was on Monday (July 12) sentenced to two years imprisonment and paid restitution after pleading guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court to stealing 280 head of unprocessed cattle.
This follows the sentencing on June 18 of a 36-year-old Atherton man, who was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment in the Cairns District Court for stealing 664 head of unprocessed cattle.
Operation North Veering commenced in 2015 after a property owner made a complaint to police about missing over 600 head of cattle from a property north of Richmond in North West Queensland. The stock were allegedly stolen between 2014 and 2015.
In January 2019 detectives from the Crime and Intelligence Command’s Cloncurry MOCS Rural arrested the 36-year-old man who was the manager of the property during the offending period. He was charged with eleven counts of stock stealing.
In March 2019 detectives from Cloncurry MOCS Rural arrested the 58-year-old man, a former property owner, who was charged with three counts of stock stealing.
Detective Sergeant Liam Scanlan said the operation highlights the dedication and resolve of MOCS Rural detectives to hold offenders to account.
“This is one of Queensland’s largest reported cattle thefts in decades, with factors such as the timeframe between the offence and the complainant noticing the stock missing, the remoteness of the property and the various locations of witnesses all adding to the complexity of the investigation,” Detective Sergeant Scanlan said.
“What this case highlights is just how many cattle can be stolen, the impact on producers and how seriously police take this type of offending.
“It is a timely reminder to all cattle property owners to be vigilant of any suspicious activities and to report it to police as soon as possible,” Detective Sergeant Scanlan said.