Sheep theft reported

Cardrona Valley farmers are being advised by police to check their stock, after a reported theft of sheep.

Senior Constable Sean Hurley told the Otago Daily Times yesterday investigations were just beginning and it was not yet known how many sheep were missing.

Pre-lamb shearing was under way in the area and he expected to have a clearer idea of numbers once that was completed, Snr Const Hurley said.

The investigation was likely to take several weeks.

Residents in the Cardrona Valley contacted by the ODT yesterday were not aware of the reported sheep theft.

In March, Wanaka farm manager Dean Thomas Herd (38) was sentenced in the Invercargill District Court to two years and four months' prison after admitting 32 charges of stealing deer, sheep and other items worth $335,000 from Criffel Deer Ltd, Criffel Station, or West Wanaka Station, where he worked over seven years.

After the sentencing, Criffel Deer Farm co-owner Mike Garnham said he did not believe that Herd was acting alone.

''I'm in no doubt that there were other people involved ... It could be a number like a half a dozen [other people] or something of that sort.''

In November 2011, several sources in the Central Otago-Upper Clutha farming industry told the ODT a large-scale rustling ring had been operating for several years in the area, involving a large organised network of people.

mark.price@odt.co.nz