A MAN who tried to steal more than $30,000 worth of sheep from a Mount Emu property claimed he only wanted the animals for food, a court has heard.
But a magistrate told Wade Price, 25, thath his explanation “beggars belief”, and that the court would not tolerate stock theft.
The Teesdale man appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit an indictable offence.
The court heard that Price and another man went to a farm in Mt Emu on the night of October 1, 2011, and started penning stud ewes worth about $2000 each.
The pair had 17 ewes and five lambs ready to load into their horse float when the farmer came to check on his property.
He immediately blocked the two men in with his car, and asked them what they were doing.
They told him they were low on oil and had come to get a top-up, before the farmer moved his vehicle and they sped out the driveway “at a fast rate of speed”.
Price’s defence counsel said that Price didn’t know the value of the animals, and that he was unemployed at the time and had wanted to eat the sheep.
But magistrate Peter Couzens refuted the explanation.
“It beggars belief that you were trying to get the sheep purely for eating. That’s a lot of sheep,” he said.
“The court must make it clear to the community that sheep theft will not be tolerated.
“It’s an offence which impacts significantly on farmers, it’s an offence that’s extremely difficult to detect.
“Thankfully the farmer came back when he did.”
Price was fined $1000 with conviction.