A property caretaker has been fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $15,000 restitution after pleading guilty in the Dalby Magistrates Court to a range of stock related charges last week.
Police received information in October 2013 and commenced an investigation which subsequently determined the caretaker of a Hannaford district property sold a significant number of calves off the property belonging to the owner.
The cattle were sold at a number of venues at Warwick and Toowoomba to several different purchasers.
Police located and seized a number of cattle as evidence and presented a case to the court showing different types of cattle.
Police explained to Beef Central that the accused had lawfully acquired a particular type being different to the victim’s cattle. However, police investigators located a number of cattle of the same type as the victim’s that had been sold by the accused.
The case represented the culmination of a 10 month investigation by Queensland Police Stock and Rural Crime Investigation (SARCIS) officers and a lengthy court process, which involved numerous hearings and a failed submission to have the case dismissed by defence prior to last week’s guilty plea.
Rex Dennis Tresize pleaded guilty to 16 charges including: suspicion of stealing stock, involving 50 head; receiving tainted property, illegal branding, using an unregistered brand or mark on stock, travelling stock without a breeder tag of the place of departure or without a completed waybill, having a forged or counterfeited travel permit waybill and giving false or misleading information to the NLIS administrator.
Magistrate Kay Ryan ordered Mr Tresize to pay a fine of $25,000 and restitution of $15,000 within 28 days.
It was also ordered that the brand at the centre of the charges to be forfeited to the Crown.
SARCIS said key messages for producers to keep in mind to reduce the risk of stock theft include:
- It is important and useful to an investigation to identify stock and keep accurate records which also acts as a deterrent to thieves as it reduces opportunity. Be diligent in legal obligations to record the movement of stock.
- Implement a management system which ensures the protection of your rural assets against being exploited – Same system can protect employees and provide secure work environments.
- Identify and record property.
- Be observant and report suspicious activity.