Vehicles transporting livestock in the state’s Central Tablelands were the focus of a high-visibility police operation targeting stock theft this week.
Operation Stock Check, an ongoing, proactive operation to prevent livestock theft by disrupting the movement of stolen stock in western NSW was launched by the NSW Police Commissioner at Armidale earlier this month.
Operation Stock Check allows officers of all ranks to inspect vehicles carrying livestock to identify and target loads which may have been stolen.
Between Monday (17 August 2020) and today (21 August 2020), the Central Zone Rural Crime Prevention Team, Western Region Highway Patrol and officers attached to Chifley Police District conducted operations in accordance with Operation Stock Check.
Police interacted with livestock carriers in and around saleyard facilities at Carcoar, Cowra and Forbes.
A large number of livestock carrier inspections were completed, along with rural patrols targeting known transportation routes.
Police recorded two breaches of the Local Land Services Act and issued one direction to conduct maintenance on a vehicle.
Rural Crime Prevention Team Central Zone Coordinator, Detective Sergeant Andrew McLean, said livestock carriers can expect to see an increase in vehicle checks in an effort to disrupt the illegal transportation of stock.
“Police will be conducting checks on all vehicles that are moving stock, whether it be large trucks, small trucks, utes, trailers or horse floats,” Det Sgt McLean said.
“I reiterate the fact that this operation is designed to target the criminal that preys upon the rural community in respect to rural crime, not farmers or livestock carriers who are doing the right thing.
“We do encourage livestock carriers to make sure your paperwork is in order and your animals are fit to load so that when you are pulled over by police it is a simple check and you can go on your way.”
Chifley Police District Commander, Detective Superintendent Peter O’Brien APM, said police within Chifley Police District will continue to interact with any vehicle carrying livestock in order to confirm the origin of the stock being moved.
“The Chifley Police District welcomes Operation Stock Check and our officers look forward to interacting with farmers and engaging with members of our rural community to ensure all animals being moved are not stolen livestock,” he said.
Livestock theft has a significant impact on farmers across Central North, New England, Oxley, Central West, Chifley, Orana Mid Western and Barrier Police Districts, with a total of 368 incidents recorded in the past two years alone.
These figures include the theft of approximately 20,300 sheep and 1800 cattle, representing a reported value of more than $4.3 million.