Over 12 400 livestock were stolen countrywide in 2 420 cases that were recorded during the last five months.
According to police statistics, of the 2 420 cases reported, 1 291 involved cattle, 535 (goats), 45 (sheep), 22 (pigs), 194 (goats), 323 (chickens) and the other 10 involved rabbits.
Police staff officer for the National Anti-Stock Theft Unit Chief Superintendent Andrew Phiri, yesterday said of the 12 416 cattle stolen, 2 660 of them were cattle.
“We also recorded 1 442 goats that were stolen, 138 sheep, 46 pigs, 396 donkeys, 7 686 chickens and 48 rabbits,” he said.
He said in March and May, they also conducted two operations — Nyamayabvepi Number 1 of 2016 and Chakapedza Mbudzi Number 1 of 2016, that were targeting rustlers and players in the meat industry.
The operation was conducted between March 14 and 28 and police also destroyed 897kg of meat.
On operation Chakapedza Mbudzi, 46 people were arrested and 30 of them were accused of stealing cattle while the other 16 were arrested for stealing goats. The operation was conducted between May 2 and 9 and police recovered 19 cattle, five goats and a donkey.
Chief Supt Phiri said during the operation, 18 butcheries and five food outlets were closed for operating without licences. He said during the first quarter, they conducted campaigns that were also focusing on cattle branding in all the provinces.
Chief Supt Phiri said they visited several areas in which they engaged the chiefs and the local leadership so that they would inform the people on the need to brand their cattle.
He said the programme was still continuing until all the people and farmers branded their livestock by December next year, which was the deadline.
Last year, more than 13 000 people were arrested for stock theft and other related cases countrywide, while 9 754 cattle were stolen in separate incidents in 5 054 cases that were recorded by police.
Police said of the 9 754 stolen cattle, 3 061 were recovered. herald