AN increase in cattle prices has been cited as a major factor for ongoing incidents of rustling in the Upper Hunter.
Livestock agent at MacCallum Inglis Stuart Sheldrake said people needed to be aware that the thefts were taking place.
“There's definitely been a few reports about it,” he said.
“Cattle prices have doubled, if not more, in the last 18 months to two years and that's been a major reason behind why it's happening.
“At our [Scone] saleyard, cattle going through averages about $1000, so if you have 10 or 12 stolen then that quickly adds up.”
Mr Sheldrake said cattle were often not being branded, making it difficult to identify them.
“A lot of the bigger stations will brand cattle but around this area, particularly with mining and lifestyle blocks, cattle just aren't being marked or correctly branded,” he said.
“That makes it hard when something like this [rustling] occurs.”
Hunter Valley Local Area Command Chief Inspector Guy Guiana said there were severe penalties for serious incidents of rural crime.
“Police believe stock theft and other rural crime continues to be under reported,” he said.
“We encourage anyone who is a victim or anyone who has information about these crimes to come forward.
“Stock theft has a serious impact on producers and is a difficult crime to police, so we need assistance from the public.
“Cattle theft can carry prison sentences up to 14 years for more serious matters.”
To report an incident of rural crime, contact Hunter Valley police on 6545 6999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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