POLICE and farmers have met at Meckering to discuss livestock theft that has cost local farmers between $40,000-$60,000 in the past two years.
A meeting was held at the Meckering sports club on August 13, after two farmers who reported livestock stolen, also said the problem could be more widespread because of unreported theft.
Cunderdin-based Senior Constable Steve Sloane said 65pc of the 26 farmers who attended the meeting had not reported small losses of 20-30 sheep, which came to several hundred sheep when added up.
The majority of thefts, believed to be happening on a steady basis, were Merino and Merino cross lambs with some ewes stolen with lambs.
"Over a period of time, especially at today's prices it does add up to big dollars very quickly," Constable Sloane said. "At today's prices in the Meckering area alone about $40,000-$60,000 had gone in two years."
He said the meeting dealt with several issues including ways to reduce livestock theft and to ensure it was correctly reported.
Const. Sloane said stock had gone missing on both sides of the Great Eastern Highway, although it was still not known what happened to the livestock.
"They could sell the sheep individually but I would suggest they are offloading," he said.
Const. Sloane said there was an attitude by some farmers that once the sheep had been stolen there was nothing more they could do.
They were therefore not reporting livestock theft.
"However, we need to hear about it so we know where to allocate our resources," he said.