POLICE have charged five people with stealing and cruelty offences after two ewe lambs were found injured and bound with bailing twine in the tray of their ute.
Officers from Cootamundra Police stopped a vehicle travelling along Temora Road early on January 7 after sighting distressed sheep in their vehicle.
The sheep had injuries to their ears, believed to be consistent with ear-tags being removed with force, and were in distress with large amounts of blood on their head and upper body.
An occupant of the vehicle told police the sheep were from a “mate’s house” but Rural Crime Investigators identified the owner and later returned them.
Police also seized 50 rounds of .22 ammunition and a knife with blood on the blade from the vehicle.
Since the incident members of the Rural Crime Prevention Team charged five of the males, with the last male arrested and charged this morning.
A 17 year old Cootamundra teenager, a 20 year old Cootamundra man, a 21 year old Stockinbingal man, a 22 year old Cootamundra man and a 24 year old Cootamundra man are facing various charges of stealing stock, committing an act of cruelty upon an animal, biosecurity offences and possessing ammunition without a licence.
All five men were granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Cootamundra Local Court February 4.
State Rural Crime Coordinator, Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside, said the large number of recent stock theft cases showed producers had confidence to report incidences now.
Meanwhile, police have returned some of the 64 stolen sheep that were recovered from Brewarrina last week.
Officers mustered the animals but found their ear tags had been removed and replaced with new ear markings.
Police returned 34 sheep to their owner who had placed them on agistment near the area but 30 remain unidentified.
Anybody with information is urged to contact the Walgett police station on 02 6820 3999.
Police are investigating the theft of another 70 Merino ewes from a property on Middlingbank Road, Berridale, between October 2018 and January 7 2019.
The four tooth dry Merino ewes had three months of wool on them and tagged with black leader tags NF150974.
Any information in relation to this crime should be directed to the local Rural Crime Investigators at Monaro Police District, Detective Senior Constables Ned Doubleday (0429 596 435) or Archie French (0427 993314).