Sheep nabbed from Marvel Loch
A reported 120 sheep were stolen from a Marvel Loch property about 200km west of Kalgoorlie in February, just days after the issue of rural crime was raised in State Parliament.
A Marvel Loch station manager reported the incident to Southern Cross police on February 20 after first noticing his sheep count was down on February 15.
Police attended the location where the sheep were being held in several paddocks and found sensors to be undisturbed, but no carcases were found to indicate the 120 sheep had instead perished.
WA Police said while cattle theft was not uncommon in rural areas, there was a large number of sheep unaccounted for in this incident.
Police are asking for anyone who may have witnessed suspicious vehicle movements in the Marvel Loch and Shire of Yilgarn area to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at crimestopperswa.com.au.
The reported theft comes after a petition calling for increased protection for landholders against rural crime was tabled in the State Legislative Council on February 13.
The petition contained 491 signatures and requested a review of legislation that would increase protection of landholders against trespassing, hunting or fishing on private land without permission, theft and damage or destruction to livestock or property.
Signatories were also concerned that those who were found guilty of rural crime often only paid minimal fines and the petition supported the potential creation of an aggravated trespass offence where there is an enhanced biosecurity risk, intent to engage in stock theft, or the presence of hunting equipment.
Nationals spokesman for agriculture Colin de Grussa presented the petition in Parliament and last week reinforced the need for a crackdown on rural crime.
“Property and stock theft is very significant,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Given the value of livestock and wool, it can amount to a massive economic loss for farmers.”
Mr de Grussa motioned that the house call on the Government to provide extra resources for law enforcement agencies to tackle rural crime and increase community protection in rural areas.
The member for the Agriculture Region said establishing a stock squad or similar dedicated crime unit may be one way of addressing the issue.
“It is important to consider having that resource in our regional areas to be able to specifically focus on those types of issues and investigate them with the knowledge and understanding that is needed to do that job properly,” he said. “It is time to recognise that stock theft is a serious issue, and we have to do something about it.”
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