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Cows worth up to $1m stolen in Canterbury

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/08/2016

A mid-Canterbury dairy farm is counting its losses after 500 cows worth up to $1 million were stolen.

Farm administrator Pennie Ormsby-Saunders says the disappearance of the cows is "gutting".

Police have been called in to investigate the theft from Ashburton, which is believe to have been carried out over a period of time.

Ms Ormsby-Saunders has made a plea for people with information to come forward but admits chances of getting back the cows, which are in calf and worth about $1500 to $2000 each, aren't great.

She says it's easy for someone to remove the identifying tags.

"Those animals could have been trucked to one farm and be somewhere, or somebody could have put their own tags in and they could have been sent to the works under a different number, different farm," she said.

"The chances of actually ever locating these animals are very slim."

Ashburton Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield has urged farmers to check stock numbers once a week, and keep an eye out for unexpected signs of herding near boundary lines.

"It's unlikely the theft of hundreds of animals could be completed at once, and is more likely that multiple thefts could be carried out over a period of time," he said.

"Neighbours should make note of any movement of stock, particularly if it's at an unusual time of the year."

Ms Ormsby-Saunders said a lot of cows in mid-Canterbury were grazed off-property over winter, sometimes a long way away.

She said the theft of cows had started to become more prevalent in the region over the past year and a half.

"I wouldn't say it's common, but it's a worrying trend."

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