TWO men have been arrested following a crackdown on booming rates of farm animal theft in the Ballarat region.
Detectives from Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit joined Beaufort police yesterday to arrest the men, following an attempted theft last October.
A 24 year old Teesdale man and a 24 year old Staffordshire Reef man were arrested and interviewed in relation to an alleged attempted theft of 17 stud ewes and five lambs from a Mt Emu property valued at $30,000.
The Staffordshire Reef man was charged with attempted theft in relation to the incident and another theft charge in relation to more sheep duffing of unknown value, which occurred in the same area in September last year.
The Teasdale man was charged with attempted theft and burglary.
Both were bailed to appear at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on September 6.
Police say the theft of sheep has risen 129 per cent in the past year, which authorities say is directly linked to the recent surge in saleyard prices.
While sheep duffers and cattle rustlers have always been active, the increase in prices - particularly for lambs and ewes, has thieves more active than ever.
Victoria Police launched a new taskforce earlier this year, placing Agricultural Liaison Officers in stations all over the state to crack down on sheep duffers.
The Ballarat Detectives assigned as ALOs assisted with yesterday's arrest.
Beaufort Police Sergeant Paul Martin said the arrests were a good result for police and for the local community.
"Sheep theft and rural theft in general remains an issue for Beaufort Police and is being actively targeted," he said.
"Livestock and rural theft remain a focus for police, who urge landowners and people living in rural areas to remain vigilant in taking note and reporting any suspicious activity in their area."
" Suspicious sightings, including vehicle registration numbers, can be forwarded to local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."