MEAT is claimed to have become the latest currency on the drugs market, with one butcher convinced his stock is being traded for drugs.
Gold Coast-based Super Butcher stores have seen such a rise in meat thefts in recent years the company has taken to posting security camera images of alleged thieves on Facebook, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports.
In the latest incident, a thief walked into the Super Butcher Oxenford store last Saturday, and loaded his arms up with $500 worth of top quality rib fillet and left before staff realised what had happened.
"People are getting desperate and it's a sign of the times because it's a high-value product," Super Butchers general manager Terry O'Hagan said. "We've been told meat is now currency for drugs."
Mr O'Hagan said thieves stole meat from any of his six stores at least once a fortnight.
"It's not because they are hungry - they are going for the dollar value," he said.
"In the case from the weekend, each piece was worth between $100 and $150, and the entire haul was worth about $500.
"Why would you need all that meat? It is a couple of months' worth. I feel it was stolen to sell."
Mr O'Hagan posted an image of the alleged thief on Facebook on Monday.
The post has now been shared by Facebook users more than 600 times.
A Gold Coast police spokeswoman said it would be "inappropriate" to speculate if top-quality meats were being swapped for drugs.
Last year, Dubbo Local Court Magistrate Andrew Eckhold said suppliers were willing to trade drugs for meat when users did not have cash.
Read more at the Gold Coast Bulletin.