Farm Ireland

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Rustling gangs are 'coaching' livestock with feed

Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30

Operation Thor was launched by gardai to combat rural crime. Stock picture
Operation Thor was launched by gardai to combat rural crime. Stock picture

Organised crime gangs are routinely 'coaching' animals with feed long before their planned raids, according to the IFA.

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Crime prevention officer Colin Connolly said that thieves often hand-fed targeted animals during the days and weeks in the run-up to a raid.

"Many farmers that have been victims of livestock rustling comment afterwards that their stock seemed to be 'off' or scattered around the field when they were feeding them in the days before the incident," he said.

The former garda also said that the number of raids were under-reported due to a fear of paramilitary involvement.

"Even though we associate organised crime with drugs and gun running, most livestock rustling is run by organised crime, and they should be targeted by the likes of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB)," he said.

Mr Connolly believes that if better data was available on the actual level of farm crime it would convince gardai to allocate more resources to tackling the issue.

Statistics from the CSO show that close to 30,000 farm related crimes have been reported since 2010.

The most common incidents are thefts from farm yards, with over 2,000 incidents being reported every year since 2010. The next most common occurrence is theft from outhouses or sheds, followed by burglary.

Along with Crimestoppers, the gardai, and DoneDeal, the IFA launched a campaign yesterday to raise awareness among the public and in particular those in the farming community, about the issue.


Farmers are being reminded to sign up to the TheftStop scheme which provides farmers with a free unique security number. Organisers want to assist gardai trace stolen property back to their owners with this code and images that the owners can upload to the TheftStop website.

Theftstop has been rolled out across 12 counties in the last 10 months - Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Galway, Cavan, Monaghan, Cork, Cavan, Limerick, Meath, Sligo and Leitrim.

Information on any suspicious activity can also be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers confidential telephone service by calling 1800-250025, or to local garda stations.

Crimestoppers chairman, Tim Dalton said that the calls are free and the information is given completely anonymously., and it can earn a reward.

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