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Sheep thieves fail to pull wool over police officers’ eyes

They may have been hoping to pull the wool over law enforcers’ eyes‚ but there was no mistaking the loot when police finally caught up with suspected farm thieves – a taxi-load of sheep.

A late-night‚ high-speed 90km car chase by police ended with a sheepish taxi driver and two others being arrested.

According to police‚ 11 sheep‚ worth an estimated R11‚000 and stolen from a farm in Cookhouse near Somerset East‚ were found crammed into the minibus.

The chase started after stock-theft unit members in a bakkie spotted the minibus speeding on the N10 from Cookhouse towards Paterson.

The three men in the minibus and a Toyota Verso‚ which was travelling with the minibus‚ were allegedly implicated in the theft of the stock at about 10pm.

Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Elmarie Lotz said the chase started after a tipoff that thieves were loading animals into the vehicles on a farm.

“The stock-theft unit responded and found the Toyota and the minibus driving towards Paterson en route to Port Elizabeth‚” Lotz said.

“Several attempts to stop both vehicles failed until backup arrived and the Toyota was pulled over near the intersection of the N10 and R400.

“The minibus‚ however‚ managed to speed away from the roadblock‚ and the chase continued towards Paterson.

“Officials from surrounding police stations were alerted and joined in the pursuit.

“The minibus was eventually forced off the road only a few kilometres from Paterson.”

Lotz said 11 sheep‚ their legs tied with rope‚ were found tightly crammed in the bus.

Three were dead and it was suspected they had suffocated in the jam-packed minibus.

“The driver of the minibus and the passenger were arrested‚ as was the driver of the car‚” Lotz said.

The three men‚ aged between 26 and 59‚ and all from Port Elizabeth‚ are facing charges of stock theft and resisting arrest.

They will appear in the Cookhouse Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.


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