‘It’s a low act’, says Pound Creek farmer
THE brazen theft of 16 head of prime Angus steers, from a Pound Creek property shortly before Christmas, has so angered the owner of the cattle that he’s put up a $10,000 reward for information about the criminals involved.
He also hopes it stands as a warning to others that “these bastards” are out there.
The profitable state of the cattle market at the moment had the worst possible outcome for Andrew Harmon, during what should have been the festive season, when thieves targeted his Venus Bay Road property. The cattle are gone, probably killed and processed by now.
But, having allowed the police investigation to run its initial course, he’s not about to take the incident lying down.
And such are the circumstances of the theft that he believes it may have been a local job, by people in the know, hence the reward.
“By offering this reward, it might entice someone to dob them in,” he said this week.
“Someone may know something.
“We might not get our money back but at least it would give us some satisfaction and stop these people from doing it again.
“It’s a pretty low act,” he said, reflecting on why he reluctantly thinks the cattle rustling might have been done by locals.
An absentee landowner with two farming properties, one at Kilcunda and one at Pound Creek, he inspected the cattle nine days before Christmas, when he definitely saw all 64 head in the paddock.
He was back there a few days later, but because of the rise and fall of the land, he didn’t necessarily see all of the cattle.
Two days before Christmas, though, on Friday, December 23, he was back again and noticed 16 steers were missing.
The cattle are pure-bred Angus steers, aged 18 months, about 480kg each and ready for market, where they would have fetched upwards $1500 each, a loss of $25,000.
Mr Harman is convinced that the thieves used the disruption of Christmas to cover their daring heist.
“We’ve got people all around us who keep an eye out but one of them was away for the week.
“The dairy farmer on the other side had heifers running with a bull near us but he didn’t notice anything.
“And another farmer, who can see right across to our place, but didn’t see anything either.
“We are however looking at some of his CCTV footage to see if we can see any vehicles coming or going.”
They would have had to use a truck, he said. Sixteen full-size steers is a truckload.
“We’ve been around the property and no fences were cut but we suspect they lifted the gates off at the hinges which is easy enough to do.
“We’ve got them all locked up now and we’re getting CCTV cameras connected at the yards and elsewhere.
“It’s a bit late now I suppose but you wouldn’t want it to happen to you again.”
Mr Harmon said the CCTV camera feed can be connected to his mobile phone and he’ll hear a warning ‘beep’ if anyone approaches.
“We just think someone knew our movements and possibly when our neighbours would be away which is why we are concerned that it might be a local job. Hopefully someone knows something and is prepared to dob these bastards in.”
The information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers 1800 333 000 or to the Inverloch Police who are investigating the cattle duffing incident.
Clearly the issue stands as a warning to other beef farmers, especially absentee property owners, with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cattle in their unpatrolled paddocks.
It makes a pretty good case for the installation of CCTV equipment in certain circumstances, especially at the price cattle are at the moment.
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