GRAZIER John Northcott believes he has fallen victim to cattle duffers having lost 23 head of cattle from his Mid North Coast property.
A prized bull and a mix of angus, droughtmaster and hereford stock totalling almost $20,000 in value were found to be missing during a recent muster on the Hydes Creek Rd property at Valery, near Bellingen.
Police are investigating, stock and station agents, and cattle carriers have been alerted and now John hopes a big reward for information will yield answers.
Closed circuit security cameras on the property, near Bellingen, last showed the missing cattle in his paddocks in October.
"I run 60 head of cattle on the 300-acre property, and when we mustered we just found them missing. I've searched everywhere on the property, the fences are in good order and there is no other explanation," John said.
"It's a really tough thing, we have raised these cattle, we have different names for them, they are part of the family really.
"I've reported the incident to police and they said they are investigating another incident of cattle theft in the area.
"I believe someone may have stolen the cattle to start or sell a breeding herd.
"I'm now offering a $5000 reward for information that leads to the prosecution of those responsible for the theft."
With no sign of forced entry and a gate fitted with a chain and lock, John believes the culprits may have cut the fencing fronting Hydes Creek Rd, loaded cattle onto a truck and repaired that section of fencing to cover their point of entry.
"I've been hand feeding the cattle, so it wouldn't have been hard. They would have come running seeing a vehicle and if they used mobile yards and a ramp they could have loaded them pretty easily," he said.
The cattle were fitted with National Livestock Identification System tags, but John said he fears the plastic markers can be easily removed.
He has since branded his herd and had his cattle ingest ceramic bolus that contain radio frequency identification microchips.
Anyone with information about this alleged cattle theft or other farm-related crime in the local area should contact Coffs/Clarence Police on 66910799 or pass on information anonymously via the Crimestoppers website.
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