FARMERS are being warned not to buy machinery from unverifiable sources after a spate of tractor thefts in recent weeks.
A 'steal-to-order' network has resulted in an upsurge in tractor thefts from farmyards and dealerships. Gardai say thieves erase the chassis number and stamp new ones in their place before selling them on.
"A lot of them are being advertised . . . on websites and magazines," explained Detective Garda Eugene O'Sullivan from the Garda Stolen Vehicle Unit. "We would encourage farmers to be wary of buying a tractor off these websites."
Some 75 tractors were reported stolen last year.