09 May 2013
Queenstown’s equestrian community fears a national horse rustling gang is targeting the Wakatipu.
Horse owners and farmers have alerted police after repeated sightings of two “dodgy” men taking photos of horses from a ute at night.
“It is very strange activity in the middle of the night,” Wakatipu Riding Club secretary Kerry Brackstone says.
“It’s not just people sightseeing or taking landscape photos. This is happening nationwide, horses are being stolen. It could be the group that goes around and targets horses, not just a one-off.
“Some of the horses are quite valuable. They could sell them on or breed good quality animals.”
NEW ZEALAND May 8, 2013 -The men were seen taking photos of horses on McDonnell Road in Arrowtown on Monday, and drove off when approached. They were also spotted at 4am on Sunday on Malaghans Road.
Victims on the New Zealand National Register of Stolen Horses Facebook page say the same activity happened before their horses were stolen.
Queenstown police want to speak to the occupants of the white double cab Ford Courier with canopy, licence plate ATY427.
Senior constable Chris Blackford says: “It could be perfectly innocent but we’d like the driver/occupant to come forward and explain what they’re doing.”
Brackstone says local riders have put locks and chains on their gates.
“But apparently the thieves just cut the fences. You can’t really stop them if they’re determined. A lot of people have their horses in a paddock on a farm, not where they live, so they can’t be looked out for easily.”
RESOURCE: Mountain Scene Best All Round Newspaper, http://www.scene.co.nz/fears-of-horserustling-gang-in-the-wakatipu/309139a1.page