A WAGIN man has been charged with stealing $97,000 worth of wool from three South West clients he transported wool for.
Busselton Detective Sargent Paul Ford said the crimes occurred between 2002 and 2008.
"The wool had been carried to Perth by the individual and two of the three clients had said they told him they wanted the wool stored up in Perth," Det-Sgt Ford said.
"The wool market was quite low in the early to mid 2000 and they wanted it stored until such time as the wool market increased and they received more money for their wool.
"He's virtually sold it straight away and converted it to money for his own use."
The man was no stranger to the wool carting business.
"He was carting wool for over 100 farmers, throughout the south west," Det-Sgt Ford said.
"He's been working in the industry for 20-25 years and he knew and carted wool for those three farmers for a long time."
The alleged wool thief's clients are located between Karridale and Collie.
"As a result of them coming forward it was a very lengthy investigation until we finally tracked the individual down and he was formally charged with nine counts of stealing an estimated $97,000 worth of wool," he said.
"That may change because of the difference in price from when it was sold and when it was supposed to be sold.
"He has since paid about $33,000 of that money back to one of the people involved.
"But some of these individuals were due to retire and were hoping for that money to come through."
After appearing at Wagin courthouse last week, the man has been remanded to appear in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on July 2.
Mr Ford urges woolgrowers to keep track of their wool once it leaves the farm to avoid similar issues.