Poachers and stock rustlers are being warned by Federated Farmers to find a different line of work.
Late last year on East Coast, two people were convicted of rustling 160 sheep, and Federated Farmers' Gisborne-Wairoa spokesman Hamish Cave said it was possible that was just the tip of the iceberg.
"This ring was busted because farmers saw suspicious activity, took down details and called the police.'' Farmers and the public should not be afraid to take note of activity which seemed out of the ordinary, he said.
Police took stock rustling seriously, Mr Cave said. In November last year, Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers' Bay of Plenty Meat & Fibre chairman, caught someone attempting to steal stock from his property.
"I was working late on the farm and spotted someone jumping the fence. When that person saw me they pulled up a hoodie and skulked away. When I got closer, I found one of my ewes had been tied up.''
Mr Powdrell said farmers needed to keep an eye out for things that "don't look right''.
In 2011 Mr Powdrell lost valuable breeding rams worth around $8000.
"Federated Farmers message to those thinking they can come into rural areas and nick what they want, is to think again.''
He said there are plenty of eyes now alert for suspicious activities. "Farmers are using many security measures like locking up, cameras, recording vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers.''