Gardai warn of rise in thefts but offer no leeway on drink driving
Our county IFA executive met some gardai for a Christmas/New Year exchange of news and views. The exchanges went like this:
How is the crime situation in rural areas?
Drink driving activity is down but theft is on the increase. Diesel, trailers, scrap metal and livestock are the main targets. Raids on diesel tanks have become endemic and the colour of the diesel doesn't matter. We've a good idea who is doing it but we need to catch them in the act to get a prosecution. Locking the lid or the valve of the tank is not a protection. The latest trend is that the diesel robbers just puncture the tank, fill what containers they have and let the rest drain away down the yard or wherever.
If you cannot have your diesel tank in a locked-up shed, then at least have a sensor light on it or have a dog housed beside it.
What can we do to protect our trailers, vehicles and livestock?
Ifor Williams trailers and horse boxes are a favourite target. We are often frustrated in that we recover a stolen trailer but the real owner cannot give proof that will stand up in court. Certainly, record the chassis number of any trailers. Even though the thieves are now grinding out the chassis numbers, we may still be able to read them forensically. Also you should put a special mark such as a spot weld hidden on the trailer. If your vehicle is found, the law will accept this as proof of ownership. Even though the person who bought and paid for the stolen item in good faith, he or she will be at the loss of the money.
We find that cars and jeeps are now being stolen to order. The thieves are going to great lengths, breaking into houses etc, to get the keys. They have even fished the keys out through letter boxes. Our advice is to bring the keys up to your bedroom for the night-time.
A lot of the stolen trailers and vehicles are being advertised on donedeal.ie. We keep a watch on that website for suspicious ads. We had a case recently in the county where a buyer handed over €22,000 in cash for a flashy but stolen jeep that had been replated with the same number as another vehicle in Limerick. An alert went out on the stolen jeep when the person in Limerick started to get M50 toll changes on his genuine vehicle even though it never left Limerick.