A sheep-milk cheese maker has had several of his award-winning flock stolen - and says stock theft in Wairarapa is a growing problem.
Nine milking ewes, mostly in lamb, were stolen from a property in East Taratahi Rd between Masterton and Carterton last Saturday night, according to owner Miles King.
Mr King reported the theft of the ewes, valued at around $500 each, to the police on Sunday.
He said he did not think the mostly two-year-old ewes had just wandered off as the breed, East Friesian, "likes to stick together" and most of them had stayed in the paddock. A nearby vineyard would also likely have detained them as they were partial to the vines, he said.
The white, ear-tagged sheep would be easily identifiable for their wool-free, long tails and friendly demeanour, Mr King said.
"Because they're milking ewes and have been handled a lot they would have been very easy to shift - they're like pets, really."
Police sent Mr King a letter on Thursday saying they had insufficient information to take the investigation further.
Mr King farms about 200 sheep for his Masterton-based Kingsmeade Cheese business, which won a gold medal this year at the New Zealand Cheese Awards. He hoped his valuable flock would turn up, but feared the worst as there had been a lot of reports of stock theft in the area.
"There's not much we can do but wait until they come to light, or some evidence of foul play."
- © Fairfax NZ News