A sheep thief has apparently had an attack of conscience, returning stolen livestock back to their paddock after a media blitz by the rural crime prevention team at Inverell.
The mixed-sex hoggets in full wool, ready to shear, were duffed from a paddock at Yellow Dam west of Emmaville and noticed missing on the weekend of August 11-12.
The next day a press release went to various media outlets and, just 24 hours later, 30 of the 40 missing sheep were back in their paddock.
A police spokesman said the incident showed the importance of prompt reporting after livestock theft.
As the sheep were being fed daily, the owner noticed the loss almost straight away and reported it directly to the Rural Crime Prevention Team at Inverell.
“While 10 are still missing, we count this as a really good result,” Detective Senior Constable Gavin Berry said.
“The secret to avoiding stock theft is to maintain fences, count your stock and report losses straight away.”