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Poachers and stock rustlers are being warned by Federated Farmers to find a different line of work.
Late last year, two people were convicted of rustling 160 sheep, and Federated Farmers' spokesman Hamish Cave said it was possible that was just the tip of the iceberg.
"This ring was busted because farmers saw suspicious activity, took down details and called the police."
Farmers and the public should not be afraid to take note of activity which seemed out of the ordinary, he said.
Police took stock rustling seriously, Mr Cave said.
In November last year, Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairman, caught someone attempting to steal stock from his property.
"I was working late on the farm and spotted someone jumping the fence.
"When that person saw me they pulled up a hoodie and skulked away. When I got closer, I found one of my ewes had been tied up."
Mr Powdrell said farmers needed to keep an eye out for things that "don't look right".