Pretoria lawyer linked to Mpumalanga stock theft

2019-05-08 16:58
One of the trucks loaded with a heard of cattle (Supplied)

One of the trucks loaded with a heard of cattle (Supplied)

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Twelve suspects, including a 32-year-old lawyer from Pretoria, have been arrested for alleged cattle theft in Mpumalanga after farmers in the region went undercover and helped police set up a sting operation.

Eleven of the suspects were caught red-handed on Tuesday trying to steal around 200 heard of cattle near Breyten in Mpumalanga. 

The breakthrough came after farmers in the Standerton/Breyten area launched an undercover operation to establish who might be behind the well-organised onslaught against stock farmers who have lost thousands of cattle, sheep and goats worth tens of millions in recent years. 

The farmers discovered the syndicate wanted to exploit the fact that the majority of police would be deployed to voting stations for Wednesday's elections. The plan was to then allegedly steal large numbers of cattle from a farm near Hendrina. 

The information was given to the police and a sting operation involving the stock theft unit of Middelburg and Ermelo, ACSU Security in Ermelo and the safety committees of local framers, was launched.

During the operation, 122 heards of cattle were found loaded on to two trucks. A third truck was in the process of being loaded. In a kraal nearby were another 50 cattle.

The value of the animals was estimated at R3.1m.

Two men and a woman tasked with looking after the livestock were found with their hands and feet tied.

It is suspected that the animals were destined for cattle feeding lots and farms in Limpopo where the lawyer was allegedly involved.

The police confiscated the three trucks as well as a light delivery vehicle which they confirmed belonged to the lawyer. Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the police also confiscated R95 000 cash, which was found in one of the vehicles.

Hlathi says 11 of the suspects were arrested on the scene. They are expected to appear in court soon alongside the lawyer.

Read more on:    nelspruit  |  crime

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