'Vigilante justice' man in hunt for sheep rustlers

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 10:36 02/03/2014
Kaiapoi man Dave Clemence
DEAN KOZANIC
DISGUSTED: Kaiapoi man Dave Clemence with some of his remaining Arapawa sheep after more than 100 were stolen from his Motukarara paddock.

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Canterbury businessman fined for carrying out "vigilante justice" on two burglars is now on the hunt for sheep rustlers.

However, this time David Clemence has the permission of police, something he admitted was "quite ironic" given what happened last time. 

Clemence was last year fined $3000 after being convicted of kidnapping two burglars he and some employees caught red-handed at his Kaiapoi drilling yard. They drove them around the town before delivering them to police.

However, thieves have continued to plague him.

Yesterday, Clemence offered a $2000 reward for information on the recent theft of more than 100 of his distinctive Arapawa sheep.

He kept about 140 sheep, which have black wool and white noses, in a Motukarara paddock, off State Highway 73.

A few had disappeared in recent months, but when Clemence went to the paddock at the weekend there were only 40 sheep left.

Clemence said the thieves were "obviously experts".

"It will be an organised gang. All you have to do is pluck out an ear tag."

Clemence said he reported the theft to police, and was told there was little they could do.

They agreed he could make his own inquiries, such as phoning stock agents and local farmers.

He had done this, but turned up nothing.

Clemence said the $2000 would be a reward for either "positive information" leading to the thieves, or the return of the sheep.

He said people could phone him on 027 432 5646 and remain confidential if they wished.

The sheep were worth about $130 each, so it was "not chicken feed", he said.

Federated Farmers says sheep rustling costs farmers about about $120 million a year.

About 1000 head of stock have disappeared from sheep runs in the Cheviot region in the past three years, while another Motukarara farmer said he had lost about 60 pigs in separate incidents.

Clemence received some public support after his earlier kidnapping arrest, despite the burglars having injuries when they arrived at the police station. 

Clemence was acquitted of assault. Police said after the case that vigilante justice would not be tolerated.

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- The Press

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