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




Downs jobseekers are struggling to find jobs, despite effort

Pouwaka Ruwhiu

Ten-month campaign to find employment leaves Warwick man frustrated.

Killarney police recommend taste-testing blitz

Sergeant Brad Doyle and Daphne Cullen had the huge task of judging the annual KIllarney State School biscuit making competition.

Killarney police judge school biscuit making competition

New business all set to open in Warwick

WATER WISE: Manager and part-owner Chris Green outside the soon-to-be Warrego Water Warwick store.

A brand new business is moving into the Warwick CBD

Latest deals and offers

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Bindi's boyfriend helps release huge croc

Chandler (far right) helped the jump team.

Chandler Powell helps catch Duncan the croc

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m