Dec 31, 2018Eastern Cape police on Monday warned all stock-owners to be more vigilant about their stock following the arrest of several suspects for the theft of more than 70 cattle and sheep.”Since the beginning of the festive season, Eastern Cape Stock Theft Unit has recovered a lot of stock abandoned, straying and most cases unattended,” said police spokesperson, Captain Khaya Tonjeni.”We therefore plead to stock owners to herd their stock or appoint a shepherd to look after it as some of the abandoned and unattended stock tends to stray to major roads and result in road fatalities.”Another warning is to rural communities to be always on the lookout whenever there are people driving stock or carrying stock in a truck or any other vehicle. Some of the abandoned houses in the rural areas are used by stock thieves as a temporary storage until taken to the next destination.”To those, who are undertaking traditional ceremonies, funerals and other rituals we encourage them to double check the ownership of stock to avoid buying stolen stock.”Suspects arrested through anti-stock theft operationsCapt Tonjeni said that the following cases have been opened since Stock Theft Units throughout the province initiated anti stock theft operations, way lay and necessary disruptions.Three male suspects, aged 27, 35 and 53 years, were arrested for possession of stolen stock from Qokolweni.”The stock belonged to the local chief in that area. The cattle were just arriving and were part of lobola. Mt Frere SAPS arrested the three suspects driving twenty four, 24 suspected stolen cattle in Zimbane,” he added.”The cattle were reunited with their lawful owner while the suspects were to appear in the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court on Monday facing a charge of stock theft.”He said that Cradock SAPS arrested four suspect, aged between 23 and 24, after they were seen by a police officer on patrol loading five sheep on a bakkie near Molenhof Farm in Cradock.”One suspect has since been released for lack of evidence connecting him to the crime. Police are still looking for the third suspect who was the driver of the bakkie who is still at large,” he added.”The two suspects were expected to appear at Cradock Magistrate’s Court for bail application.”An operation held at Mgodini on Sunday, and Rockville locations in Flagstaff resulted in the arrest of two male suspects, aged 33 and 58, and the recovery of three cattle.”The two were expected to appear at Flagstaff Magistrate’s Court facing a charge of stock theft.”Straying stock returned to rightful ownersCapt Tonjeni said that six goats were found straying at Qhankqu location, Sulenkama, and were impounded at Qumbu pound while efforts to trace the rightful owner are undertaken.Eight sheep were also recovered at Ntshiqo and handed over to lawful owner.He said that the Mthatha Stock Theft Unit were busy with operations when they received information of stock abandoned in an old vacant house.”They followed up and successfully recovered 11 sheep that have been taken to Mthatha stock pound for safekeeping until the rightful owner has been identified,” he described.Meanwhile, the Mbizana Stock Theft Unit members were following information at Maladini location in Qumbu where they successfully recovered three cattle found straying.”No one was arrested. All recovered stock have been positively identified by the complainants.”Capt Manatha said that the Mbizana Stock Theft Unit again followed up on information of sheep kept in the forest at Mawusheni location.”When police arrived they found 20 sheep tied with strings of rope inside a shack built next to the forest.”The complainant was located and positively identified all of his sheep even though he reported that 16 sheep are still outstanding,” he said.Eastern Cape SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, appealed to the Stock Theft Unit members to intensify the operations as festive season is reaching its peak.She also warned the community to resist the temptation to buy stolen stock as they are perpetuating the abhorred habbit of stock theft.“Buying stolen stock is equal to creating a market for thieves and police have no option but to arrest the buyer and seller,” emphasised the Provincial Commissioner.Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook.