Northern Territory police investigating the alleged theft of 370 cattle valued at nearly $700,000 have seized 25 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition during a raid on a station near Katherine.
- Hundreds of cattle worth almost $700,000 have been allegedly taken from a Top End station
- Police seized 25 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition during a raid on a property
- DNA from more than 1,000 weaners is being tested to determine if they are the progeny of stolen cattle
Police raided the station, which has not been named, after receiving a complaint from a neighbouring property about allegedly stolen cattle.
Upon raiding the property, police will allege they found 12 unregistered firearms, nine unlicensed firearms and one prohibited weapon, including a revolver that had been reported stolen.
Two men, aged 70 and 30, are due to face Katherine Local Court in September on a number of firearms offences.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Ian Kennon said police had taken DNA samples from a number of weaners to identify if they were progeny of the allegedly stolen cattle.
“At this stage we have taken samples from 1,125 weaners, and I have identified a further 265 weaners that have been trucked to New South Wales that will also be getting assessed for DNA samples,” he said.
“We have a number of witnesses who have provided us with statements in relation to the handling of the cattle.
“I do expect charges in relation to the cattle to be laid in the coming weeks.”
‘Win’ for police taskforce
The investigation is part of NT Police’s Taskforce Starlight, which was established in March to tackle stock theft in the Territory.
NT Cattleman’s Association chief executive Will Evans said the raid on the station near Katherine was a “win” for investigators.
“[The raid] emphasises the importance of what the taskforce has been doing and the risks of stock theft in the NT,” Mr Evans said.
“We’ve got six months left on the taskforce, and we need to make sure people are calling the police when they have concerns and that they are reporting these instances.
“At the moment there’s no hard numbers around the size of stock theft in the NT.”