Thieves round up 400 sheep, steal guns and meat in rural crime spree
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Thieves round up 400 sheep, steal guns and meat in rural crime spree

Two men seen running from a garage at Gunning early Thursday morning after triggering an alarm and cutting themselves on the smashed glass front door are suspected of being involved in a crime spree across the Southern Tablelands.

Bailey's Garage managing director Craig Southwell said the thieves first struck at the Metro Service Station down the street from his premises, where they had been twice before.

Farmers Theresa and Craig Robinson, with their children Alya and William.

Farmers Theresa and Craig Robinson, with their children Alya and William.Credit:Jamila Toderas

"They were in and out of here within a minute," Mr Southwell said. "They have come through, went to where the safe was, realised we don't use it anymore and rummaged through the office and took whatever cash was there.

"The alarm was going just as they were going out," he said. "When you walk in you have 30 second to turn the alarm off before it goes off, so they were running when it went off."

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Mr Southwell said the smash-and-grab happened about 5.30am and the two men were seen leaving. "There's a bit of blood around everywhere," he said.

Thieves have been stealing sheep, firearms and meat in the Gunning, Gundaroo and Murrumbatemen areas.

Busy building a shed to expand their free-range egg business near Gunning, Craig and Theresa Robinson were unaware thieves had backed up a truck to one of their paddocks and stolen 400 pregnant ewes, which has dealt the farmers a severe financial setback.

"It looks as though someone has backed up to the fence, put the back tailgate down over the top of the fence and rounded them up," Mrs Robinson said.

The Robinsons were counting on selling 1000 lambs before Christmas to pay for business improvements. "We only got half of our lambs this year," Mrs Robinson said.

"Everything that we have worked for this year has been stolen from us. There's a rural detective out here at the moment and we have installed cameras at a cost we couldn't afford. but we can't afford to have more sheep stolen," Mrs Robinson said

"The community feels no one is doing much to help us out here," she said.

The family estimates they have lost about 700 sheep since buying their property at Mount Dixon. They say they will pay a cash reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to a conviction.

"It has got to the point where I can't sleep. When I hear anything, I'll jump in the car and drive around the paddock," Mrs Robinson said.

One of the district's fire brigades, Back Creek Rural Fire Service, says on its Facebook page thieves stole cash, jewellery, guns and ammunition from a residence on Sunday morning.

"The guns are the worrying thing. They're prising open gun safes to get at them," the post says. "Keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour including cars parked where they shouldn't be or strangers asking for spurious directions."

Gunning butcher Andrew Robinson said thieves who broke into the butchery recently filled a garbage bin with sausages, boxes of meat and chickens stored in the cool room.

Mrs Robinson said a service station in Gunning had been robbed twice in two days. The service station declined to comment.

NSW police are appealing for help after thefts over the weekend at two rural properties at Murrumbateman and one property at Gundaroo. Personal property, cash and firearms were taken from one house.

Officers from the Hume Local Area Command and forensic officers attended and examined the premises. People with information should contact Yass Police Station on 6226 9399 or Crime Stoppers.

John Thistleton is a reporter for The Canberra Times.

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