LIVESTOCK THEFT: Police urge producers to stay vigilant, and recommend the use of security cameras.
LIVESTOCK THEFT: Police urge producers to stay vigilant, and recommend the use of security cameras. Kate Darvall

Cattle thieves try to get in on livestock boom

CATTLE are fetching the highest dollar amount in years, but due to the high prices the industry now faces new threats.

Livestock theft is the highest it's been in years and detectives say this is directly correlated to the high market prices.

Kingaroy Stock and Rural Crimes Investigations Squad Detective Sergeant Mark Ferling said livestock theft had "increased exponentially" in recent months.

"In the last three to six months people are looking for cattle because they know how valuable they are," Det Sgt Ferling said.

"It ranges across the South Burnett, as south as Kumbia to as north as Monto. Numbers of cattle being stolen range from five head up to 60 head."

Det Sgt Ferling urged producers to take extra caution because of the soaring rates of theft.

"We want to let people in the livestock industry, graziers, meat work operators, saleyard attendants to be aware this is happening," he said.

"Regularly check fences, watering points, take note of suspicious vehicles and persons.

"Take note of what's happening next door for your mates and report anything suspicious to police."

Det Sgt Ferling said livestock theft was one of the most significant rural crimes, and producers incurred huge losses at its hands.

He said livestock theft ranged from a truck load of cattle all the way down to just one or two head.

But the theft of any number of stock was concerning for the industry, he said.

Livestock Agents producer and owner Paul Pratt said he never saw the cattle market so high and was not surprised people wanted in on it.

"I wouldn't doubt it for a minute, cattle are worth a lot of money right now," he said.

"There's plenty of temptation there for dishonest people to do the wrong thing."

Mr Pratt said livestock theft was a difficult operation, but still possible.

"Most cattle are branded and ear tagged, and while you can't remove the brand, ear tags are easily removed," he said.

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