Cattle duffer jailed


A QUEENSLAND cattle farmer who has been living in Warwick is behind bars and must pay a $237,000 fine after "building a small cattle empire" mostly through stolen stock.

Ashley Armstrong Thomson, 49, stole more than $134,000 worth of cattle from five neighbours in the Cunnamulla area, near the NSW border.

He would re-brand the cattle with his RY4 symbol and often removed National Livestock Identification System ear tags indicating where they belonged.

Thomson, who has been living in Warwick after the courts banned him from attending his Cunnamulla properties, owned and lived on properties Kywong and Gilnockie.

Over 11 years, Thomson stole 59 cattle and bred 168 of their progeny, resulting in five cattle generations in some cases.

By the time some of the stolen stock was identified, Thomson had already sold at least 17 through the Dalby Saleyards to different feedlots for $12,563.

Having been bought legitimately, those cattle could not be returned to the neighbours.

Charleville District Court heard police seized many of the stolen cattle but Thomson has consented to returning another 81 cattle to the victims.

Crown prosecutor Lily Brisick said the length of the offending had watered down strong bloodlines the neighbouring farmers had worked hard to establish.

One neighbour's stud Braford cow produced a beast worth $7500 but, when bred with Thomson's stock, produced an animal worth just $436, Ms Brisick said as an example.

"In country as vast as this, where fences just cannot be checked daily, graziers rely on their neighbours to return straying stock," she said.

"Trust is what binds the community.

"Trust is even more (important) in times of drought when cattle must move further to find feed and times of flood when fences are most likely to be damaged.

"(Thomson's) conduct has spanned both drought and flood."

Police uncovered the thefts through cattle seizures and DNA tests over three years, costing police about $72,000 and victims about $90,000.

Thomson pleaded guilty after two days of a trial, which required witnesses to be flown in from NSW.

He was sentenced to two years and three months jail, suspended after he has served nine months.

The balance of the sentence will hang over his head for five years.

The sheer size of the properties around Cunnamulla, near the NSW border, would astound many.

Floods and droughts can strike them with equally catastrophic proportions.

It took years for some farmers to tell police their cattle numbers were falling dramatically.

Topics:  stock theft

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Motoring show to rev up support for hospital

FAMILY FUN: Three of the sensational cars that will be on display at the Gatton Auxiliary Show and Shine.

Car, Ute and Bike Show and Shine is coming to town for a good cause.

Student wins half price fees

FUTURE VET: Brook Cridland, winner of the Country Challenge on Campus.

Year 11 runner wins $4500 university prize.

Gatton and Forest Hill make it two from two

PACE: Gatton Fordsdale bowler Chris O'Brien sends a speedy delivery to Southern Lockyer's Shaun Ashley during the A-grade fixture at Ropehill on Saturday.

Gatton and Forest Hill both won their round two fixtures.

Local Partners

Do you recognise this distinctive blue and white ute?

IF you've seen a distinctive white tray-back ute with a blue bonnet around the region, the Gatton Police want you to contact them.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

CMC organisers: No more pre-sale tickets will be sold

US country music group The Dixie Chicks. Supplied by Chugg Entertainment.

UPDATE: Plenty of people unhappy with process

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

In Flames are super 'proud' of new album

In Flames album to be released in November.  Photo Contributed

In Flames to release new album in November

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize win

Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel Prize win

WATCH: Trailer for Jackman's final Wolverine film released

First trailer for the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman.

Thrilling trailer promises a dark, dystopian finale for Wolverine

CCTV footage surfaces of Kim Kardashian West's robbers

The blurry footage shows three men on bikes and two on foot

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge