Beef up your security to prevent livestock theft


Operation Poach was introduced by SAPOL in July 2011 as a direct response to the increased reporting of livestock theft across the state, with the objective to significantly reduce the theft of livestock.

Livestock theft causes significant financial losses for farmers, not only through monetary loss of the stock but also the loss of future breeding herds and bloodlines. There is concern of the increased risk of stolen stock with fraudulent health status papers as this poses a risk to Australia’s domestic and international trade.

Sheep and bailed wool have been identified as the main target for poachers in South Australia, although cattle farms and honey producers have also been targeted.

Lamb and wool are currently being sold at record highs. In the last 12 months the number of reported incidents has increased by 13 per cent and the total value of livestock stolen has increased by 46 per cent.

Some tips to prevent you being fleeced

Follow these tips to reduce the risk of livestock theft;

  • Missing National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) devices should be reported missing as soon as possible.
  • Livestock should be regularly checked to ensure that suspected losses are recognised and reported to police as soon as possible.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of individual stock identification numbers and stock totals including purchases, sales, deaths and rations.
  • Valuable stock should be photographed or videoed.
  • Stock should not be left in yards or holding paddocks adjacent to stockyards unless they are in sight of the home.
  • Stock handling facilities should be kept locked and regularly checked for signs of unexplained activity.
  • Stockyard fences and gates are to be kept secure and in good repair. Any suspicious damage needs to be reported to police.

For more information and tips to secure your property visit where you can access the rural fact sheet and security booklet.

Alternatively you can contact your local Crime Prevention Section to receive a printed copy of the booklet.

Police need ‘ewe’

If you are the victim of livestock theft, contact police and report it immediately. Livestock thefts often go unreported as victims believe there is little chance of the stock being recovered and minimal chance of convicting the offender(s).

SAPOL is seeking the public’s assistance to help identify livestock theft offenders. Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if:

  • You see or hear unusual movement of stock.
  • You see suspicious vehicles or people.
  • You see farmers transporting livestock that is not tagged for identification.

Record the time, date, location, description of vehicle, registration number and description of person(s) and report as soon as possible.

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