Crackdown on illegal abattoirs
Garda raids target border-based cattle rustling gangs
Gardai have raided a series of illegal abattoirs as they crack down on a criminal gang suspected of organising the latest outbreak of cattle rustling in the Border counties.
The raids are part of a co-ordinated operation with the PSNI and gardai are being backed up in their inquiries by members of the Department of Agriculture's special investigations unit and officials from the Food Safety Authority.
Two of the suspected abattoirs were discovered in unhygienic sheds in the Swanlinbar and Belturbet areas of county Cavan where the cattle were being killed before the meat was sold off to butchers in the Border region.
Half a dozen incidents of rustling have been reported to the gardai in counties Monaghan and Cavan over the past eight weeks and gardai have been trying to trace the stolen cattle with the help of DNA data through the department.
Other incidents are under investigation by the PSNI in counties Armagh and Tyrone.
Gardai, who have set up an investigation base at Monaghan station, say they believe some of the rustlers may have been involved in or have links to a gang involved in previous robberies in the region in the past few years.
One officer told the Farming Independent: "We are pursuing a number of leads on both sides of the Border and further searches and raids are being planned".