21 Nov 2011

Higher police priority wanted on stock thefts

12:48 pm on 21 November 2011

Farmers are seeking more co-operation from police to help stop stock rustling across the country, which has increased in the past year.

Taupo farmer Paddy Lowry says stock rustling has evolved from small-scale thefts to armed gangs of six or seven stealing thousands of dollars worth of stock at night, mainly due to a thriving black market linked to the high price of meat.

Mr Lowry says he's lost about 70 hoggets, worth about $14,000 in the past year and his neighbours have had rams and Hereford cows stolen.

He says farmers are frustrated that, at times, police appear unwilling to work with them to catch the rustlers.

Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo president Neil Heather says a letter of agreement has been signed with the police to improve their relationship.