Police from the Charters Towers Stock and Rural Crime Squad in Queensland have closed a successful cattle stealing investigation following the sentencing of a 54-year-old man in court last Thursday.
Police from the squad commenced an investigation into the stealing, re-branding and earmarking of 16 head of cattle between March 2009 and March 2013 from a grazing property near Charters Towers.
Following a thorough and protracted operation by investigators, a 54-year-old man was charged on March 18 with four counts of deface brands, two counts of stealing stock and one count each of stealing stock, fraud, illegal branding, enter false or misleading information on waybill and fail to ensure cattle travelled bear permanent tag. He was sentenced in the Charters Towers Magistrates Court.
“During the operation we found that after being stolen, the cattle had their brands and earmarks crudely altered using a heated implement. The offender modified the brand (a three-piece symbol) from an N to an M in order to appear similar to his own.
“We also determined the offender had fitted false National Livestock Identification System devices to the cattle so he could make declarations on waybills and transport the cattle for sale,” Detective Sergeant Mark Hogenelst, Officer in Charge Charters Towers Stock and Rural Crime Squad said.
The man received a $15,200 fine and was ordered to pay $3874 in restitution. The judge has also ordered the cattle, retrieved from properties in Charters Towers and Prairie during the investigation, be returned to their owner.
“We are pleased with the result of this operation. With many cattle producers across the State facing unrelenting drought conditions and tough financial times, we are committed to identifying those who prey on them and seek to steal their sources of income,” Detective Sergeant Hogenelst said.
Anyone with information on rural crime is asked to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
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