Wheatbelt police are investigating four reports of sheep stealing at Calingiri and Bolgart including the theft of 80 animals worth about $18,000 from one farm. Police are now stopping livestock trucks to check transport paperwork and ear tags. Wongan Hills Sen. Const. Tony Moss said about 120 sheep had been reported missing at farms near Calingiri and Bolgart in the past three months. He said it was the first stock theft he had heard of during his four-and-a-half years at Wongan. “We are pulling over any vehicles carrying livestock, checking weighbills and ear tags ... this is a concerted effort to patrol farming communities,” Sen. Const. Moss said. “We are encouraging farmers to make a report if they are missing sheep. We are making an effort to pull over smaller vehicles as well.” Calingiri farmer Dan King reported 80 sheep — worth about $18,000 — stolen from his 3000ha property recently, believing they were taken some time after July. Two farms near Calingari have reported another 27 and 18 sheep missing in the past fortnight, and 20 sheep went missing from a Bolgart farm last weekend. Mr King called for other farmers to report livestock rustling after discovering about 40 four-year-old ewes and 40 one-year-old hoggets had been stolen. He believes the theft occurred between July and late October after counting the sheep in July. It wasn’t until he went to shear late last month that he noticed some were missing. He has since spent about $1000 on 4G security cameras for his property. A third-generation farmer, Mr King said it was disappointing to realise some of the 2500 breeding ewes he cared for had been stolen. “It is not just the figure of the sheep, it is the total loss,” he said. “You put all of your effort into sheep and we have stuck through sheep during the really hard times. “For someone to come on to your farm and take something that you have worked so hard on is painful.” WAFarmers livestock section president David Slade said the recent incident was the first spate of sheep theft across multiple farms he had heard of since 2018. At that time, more than $200,000 worth of sheep were stolen from farms as national wool prices soared to record highs, prompting a meeting in Katanning. “It is difficult to catch people without cameras or neighbours actually spotting these people and their number plate,” Mr Slade said. “Sheep are worth a lot of money now and there is a lot of effort to go into breeding them.” In February the Nationals WA promised to reinstate the State’s rural stock squad, which was disbanded in 2008, to address regional livestock theft. The pledge came after a 491-signature petition calling for increased protection for landholders against rural crime was tabled in the State Legislative Council on February 13, and after 120 sheep were stolen from a Marvel Loch station about 200km west of Kalgoorlie.