Worker stole 88 cows as he 'needed the money'

A Temuka man who stole 88 dairy cows from his boss and sold the majority to freezing works told police he had been at a low point in his life and needed the money.

Corey Neill Woods, 25, admitted in the Timaru District Court yesterday taking the cattle from a North Canterbury farm.

The court was told Woods was working as a labourer for Kanuka Farm near Oxford, owned by Dairy Holdings Ltd.

He planned the removal of dairy cows in February this year, contacting stock transport companies to find out which was cheapest and what was available.

He arranged for Ryal Bush Transport to collect 40 dairy cows from the farm on February 25 and deliver them to his parents' five-hectare block at Mataura, Southlandwhile the farm manager was away.

On the day, he drafted 40 dairy cows as they came off the milking platform. They were loaded onto the Ryal Bush Transport truck and delivered to Southland.

He then had 33 of the cattle picked up by Tulloch Transport from his parents' property and taken to the nearby meatworks.

The remaining seven cows were kept at the property and used for rearing calves.

In May, he again contacted Tulloch Transport and arranged for 48 dairy cows to be transported from the Oxford farm to Southland. They were delivered to his parents' property on May 9.

Thirty cattle were picked up two days later and taken to the Alliance meatworks at Pukeuri near Oamaru. Fifteen more cattle were sent to Pukeuri on May 15. The remaining cattle were also kept for rearing calves.

In total, Woods took 88 cattle, 78 of which were slaughtered at the meatworks, one that was slaughtered at his parents' Southland property and nine that were kept at Mataura for calf-rearing.

Woods told police he was at a "low point" in his life, owed people a lot of money, and saw this as a way out.

The stolen cows were valued at $135,000. Woods is assisting in returning the nine remaining dairy cows and their seven calves to Dairy Holdings.

Reparation is sought.

Woods was remanded on bail for sentencing on February 26.

Judge Joanna Maze warned Woods it was likely he would receive a custodial sentence.

"There is no way this can be a purely community-based sentence other than a consideration of home detention."

The Timaru Herald