A SECOND man has been charged in relation to stealing sheep valued at about $80,000 in the Skipton area.
Vintangelo (Ang) Puopolo, 32, of Greenvale, has been charged with six counts of theft.
He was arrested, interviewed, charged and bailed to appear in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on April 16.
He's the second person charged in relation to the theft which were allegedly committed between November 3 and December 11.
Detective Senior Constable Wayne Ryan, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, said inquiries were continuing and police officers expect to interview two Ballarat district men next week.
In late December a 16-year-old from the Skipton area was charged with the theft of about 300 sheep valued at $80,000.
Detective Senior Constable Ryan said that on December 20 investigators from the Warrnambool CIU, the Warrnambool police divisional response unit and Camperdown uniform officers raided a property in the Skipton/Lismore/Berribank district.
"A search warrant was executed after the recent reported thefts of stock in the same district from late September through until mid December," he said.
"A stolen tandem trailer was located valued at $3000 and 48 ear tags which had been removed from sheep. A 16-year-old male youth was arrested in relation to theft of the trailer and possession of the stolen ear tags."
The youth was interviewed and has been charged with theft of the trailer, seven counts of theft of sheep valued at a total of $81,000 and serious driving offences.
Those offences included unlicensed driving and conduct endangering serious injury after he allegedly tried run a man off the road and rammed his vehicle.
The youth was released on bail to appear in a children's court at a later date.
Detective Senior Constable Ryan said information from the public had proved invaluable in the investigation.
"We would like to thank members of the community who contacted Crime Stoppers and local police which led to us being apply to apply for a search warrant," he said.
Acting Superintendent Damien Christensen said Victoria Police was focused on reducing livestock and farm theft affecting Victoria’s country regions.
“We know the farming community is concerned about incidents of stock theft and we want to reassure everyone that police take this issue very seriously.
“We want to remind the farming community that police are here to help.
“It’s important that any incident is always reported to police at the earliest opportunity so that we can investigate fully.
“If you see any suspicious behaviour, particularly stock crates or trailers which appear out of place, then we encourage you to report this to police or to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
“We have a dedicated Agricultural Liaison Officer program (AGLO) which is a collection of more than 60 members across the state who have expert skills in investigating livestock theft and farm crime.”
AGLOs oversee farm crime and livestock theft investigations where required, provide advice guidance and assistance to members, establish and maintain relationships with farming partners, liaise with the farming community, encourage reporting of livestock theft, maintain a contemporary knowledge of local trends and issues and engage with partners to identify and mitigate risks in farming practice.