Rural crime: Guilty Coona goat thief fined

TARGETING RURAL CRIME: Police in Coonabarabran investigating the theft of the goats. Photo: NSW Police.
TARGETING RURAL CRIME: Police in Coonabarabran investigating the theft of the goats. Photo: NSW Police.

A 34-year-old Coonabarabran man who was caught stealing goats from a farmer's property has been fined a total of $1500.

Luke Salter was caught taking the goats from a property at Dandry, north-east of Coonabarabran on February 25.

Police said Salter and two other men stopped a vehicle near the property before they walked into a paddock to steal the goats.

A witness noticed three goats in the caged area of the vehicle and saw Salter trespassing in the paddock with a goat slung over his shoulders.

Police said the witness took the keys out of the vehicle and said they would only be given back if the stolen goats were returned to the property.

TAKEN: Goats stolen from a Dandry property. Photo: NSW POLICE.

TAKEN: Goats stolen from a Dandry property. Photo: NSW POLICE.

The witness contacted police and the owner of the animals, which were part of a mob of about 50 young goats placed in the paddock by a farmer who was leasing the block.

Salter and his crew were given the keys back and drove off with the goats before police arrived.

The owner of the goats stopped the men and after a brief discussion the goats were returned to the paddock, police said.

Salter was later arrested and he appeared in Coonabarabran Local Court on July 30.

He was convicted of the theft and entering private land to hunt an animal without the owner's consent.

CATCHING CULPRITS: Police in Coonabarabran responding to reports of goats being stolen. Photo: NSW POLICE

CATCHING CULPRITS: Police in Coonabarabran responding to reports of goats being stolen. Photo: NSW POLICE

Magistrate George Breton placed Salter on a community corrections order for 18 months, which requires him to be of good behaviour and not commit any further offences.

Salter was fined $1000 for stealing the goats and $500 for entering private land without the owners consent.

Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside, the NSW Police rural crime coordinator, said during a drought landholders rely heavily on the production of goats to support their farm and families.

"Many think that Rangeland goats can't be stolen, however they can under certain circumstances," he said.

"Please let this be a warning to anyone... the Rural Crime Prevention team has zero tolerance for illegal hunting, trespassing and stealing from our farmers."