A focus on rural crime-Goats are gone

By Melissa Blewitt

The phrase “that really gets my goat” has taken on a new and sinister meaning in rural areas like Condobolin.

As the demand for goat meat and dairy products soars, poachers are breaking into remote properties under the cover of night and stealing hundreds of animals at a time.

In June, a goat theft was reported from a property between Condobolin and Tullamore (About 40 kilometres from Condobolin).

The victim reported that he had about 700 feral goats on his property.  He mustered and sold about 300 of these goats but sometime between January and June someone has cut his boundary fence and the remainder of the goats are now missing.

“It’s presumed they have been mustered and poached,” Detective Senior Constable and Rural Crime Investigator Andrew McGrath said.

“Although there hasn’t been a lot of Poaching reported in this area, anecdotally there is a lot going on at the moment.  We generally see a spike in stock thefts if the market rises and goats are no different to all other stock in this regard.

“The other problem is the issues that come with poaching goats such as trespassing, damage to fences, opportunistic theft of property and or fuel and the illegal use of farm machinery to recover bogged vehicles.

“I always suggest to property owners to invest in motion camera’s.  This technology is getting cheaper all the time and it’s good evidence for Police if we can get registration numbers or photos of potential offenders.” Sen Cons McGrath added there are some issues with feral goats as to who actually owns them or how to claim ownership of them.

“It’s generally accepted if you as the property owner muster feral goats on your property and then perform some sort of husbandry act on them for example ear tagging/drenching/ear marking then you then have a right to claim ownership,” he said.

“If the goats are already tagged or marked they are obviously the property of someone else and must be either returned to their owner,  if the owner can be identified, or they can be impounded as trespassing stock and delivered to the pound.”

There are currently no suspects in the goat theft matter from Condobolin.

If you have any information regarding rural crime, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00 or use the Crime Stoppers online crime reporting page:https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

 

Detective Senior Constable Robert Newman has seen the impact trespassing and illegal hunting can have on farmers in rural NSW after eight years on the job.

Farmers try to protect their properties but it can be difficult to maintain a high level of vigilance he said.

“Trespassing and illegal hunting have a gigantic impact of farmers as they are isolated which creates fear as they are very vulnerable.”

He said with money tied up in the property, theft and cut fences can cause farmers financial hardship as well.

If they come across trespassers farmers should deal with them by getting as much information as they can without engaging the offender Senior Constable Newman said.

“Don’t get into a fight with the trespasser as they may be carrying a knife or gun and they may not want to be caught. So make sure you get a good description and number plate if possible,” he said.

There is a lot farmers can do to look after their properties including, patrolling the boundaries, installing locks, taking keys out of vehicles and installing technology like cameras and alarms at gates.

“My advice is to make it as hard for them as possible.” “It is vital that farmers report all crime to police so true figures are known, resources distributed where they are needed and any patterns in crime can be seen,” Senior Constable Newman said.

 

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