News

Cattle duffer jailed

©istockphoto/antb

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.

Phishers targeted my bank account

BE WARY: First-hand account of cyber theft using a PayPal account.

First-hand account of cyber theft using a PayPal account.

Jason flying high with new role at Ipswich Jets

NEW ROLE: Former Hawks coach Jason Cubit has been appointed CEO of Jets Rugby League Club.

Jason Cubit is 'jet'-ting into a new role

ACCC to host beef and cattle industry forum

CLOSER LOOK: The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission will host a forum into the cattle and beef industry.

ACCC to host forum about cattle and beef industry.

Latest deals and offers

CEO ends four-decade career

AFTER 40 years of serving numerous communities, the CEO of Lockyer Valley Regional Council Ian Flint says now it is time to serve his family.

Phishers targeted my bank account

BE WARY: First-hand account of cyber theft using a PayPal account.

First-hand account of cyber theft using a PayPal account.

Jason flying high with new role at Ipswich Jets

NEW ROLE: Former Hawks coach Jason Cubit has been appointed CEO of Jets Rugby League Club.

Jason Cubit is 'jet'-ting into a new role

ACCC to host beef and cattle industry forum

CLOSER LOOK: The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission will host a forum into the cattle and beef industry.

ACCC to host forum about cattle and beef industry.

Poets liven breakfast

POETS’ CORNER: Poet and MC Denleigh Stenzel with Poets in the Park organiser Greg Farr.

Don't miss the fun of Marburg's annual poets' breakfast.

Community enjoys Prenzlau Pride Car Show

A well-looked after Chrysler ute at the Prenzlau Pride car show.

A massive line up of cars attended the Prenzlau Pride car show

Caitlyn Shadbolt, Sara Storer join Gympie Muster bill

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at CMC Rocks in March 2016.

AWARD-winning singers star in third line-up announcement.

Bennett, Langer, Thurston and others talk Cam Smith

Broncos and former QLD coach Wayne Bennett.

Broncos and former QLD coach plus past and present players talk about Cameron...

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Billy Slater talks Origin Team

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater.

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater talks about this years team and his return to...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked