Rural areas will turn into the 'wild west' if people don't remain vigilant in reporting thefts, says a farmer who's had 50 lambs stolen.
Doug Avery is a sheep and beef farmer in Marlborough and said the lambs were stolen in winter, but he needed to check they had not wandered into neighbours' land before he went public.
There have been several cases of rustling this year, the most recent when 55 calves were stolen from a north Canterbury couple this week.
Doug Avery said in his case it was a trespasser that drove him to go the police.
"Just recently we discovered that our place was being accessed by a person through a particular gate without permission and so we wired that gate up and they cut the wire off and they continued to access it, so that prompted us to make the move about going public and encouraging people to report crime."
Mr Avery said that by working with the police his property was less vulnerable to future thefts.
He said stock rustling was a big issue for farmers.
"Farmers are really concerned about it, the vast majority of thefts on farms go unreported, but I think that unreported crime and this kind of thing will lead to the 'wild west' if it's not sorted out.
"No one watches their stuff being ripped away from them without some sort of retaliation."
Thefts were always worse leading up to Christmas said Mr Avery.
"Home kill meat is just so much better than the bought stuff and so it's a high prize. Going up to Christmas people are looking for a few treats so I think farmers need to be vigilant and up their security, and that's not hard to do in this day and age, we've got a lot of technology to help us."
He said it was not everyday thieves that could steal stock.
"I don't think this could be done by amateurs, no way. You can grab one or two without much difficulty but when you start taking quantities that indicates to me that you're well organised."