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Farmer Jailed For Theft Of Neighbour's Bulls

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 17 NZPA - A Taranaki farmer has been jailed for a year for stealing 11 of his neighbour's bulls in a case a judge said had all the hallmarks of cattle rustling.

Stephen Raymond Long, 31, of Awatuna, 24km west of Eltham, pleaded guilty in Hawera District Court to taking the bulls, valued at $16,875, from a farm near Eltham, the Taranaki Daily News reported.

He told police he was sick of the animals getting on to his property.

But Judge Allan Roberts said the case had all the hallmarks of cattle rustling.

"To cut and replace ear tags was a preconceived plan and you had every opportunity to seek out the owners and deal with the animals other than you did," he said.

Long had also arranged to sell the bulls to a meatworks but changed his mind when he found out how much they were worth.

The animals have since been returned to the farm.

"Imprisonment is the only option," he said. "To do otherwise would be to send the message it was OK to rustle and steal other people's cattle and you won't go to jail."

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