'I'll shoot down drones over my land,' warns farmer after burglaries
A farmer has insisted he will shoot down the next drone that appears over his property for fear it is being used by burglars to 'case out' his land.
Robert O'Shea, who farms near Thurles, Co Tipperary, was reacting to comments made by a Garda superintendent, who told a recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in Sligo that it is illegal to shoot down a drone.
"Gun licences are granted under strict conditions which do not include shooting down aircraft, and as drones are technically considered aircraft, I would caution anyone against shooting at drones," said Sligo/Leitrim Division Chief Superintendent, Michael Clancy.
However, Mr O'Shea, whose property was burgled three years ago, and who recently observed a drone hovering over his farmyard, has said that farmers should defend their property against those using the mechanically propelled machines. "To be honest, while it may be illegal to do, shooting these things down is the only real solution," he said.
"I'm not advocating that people break the law, but how else are they meant to deal with them? It's just another example of how the criminal has all the rights and the victim appears to have none."
Mr O'Shea said that his son noticed a drone over the farmland.
"He never thought to tell me until we heard that a drone had been noticed over a garage near to where we live and that same garage was subsequently robbed," he said.
"What's happening is criminals are sitting in a car up to half a mile from where the drone is operating, guiding it back then downloading the photographs it has taken of a farmer's yard and identifying not only where machinery is stored, but also the entry and exit routes so they can be in and out quickly."
Mr O'Shea is involved with a support group for victims of crime, Save Our Local Community.
"We have had reports from Cashel about drones being used to case out places, and a woman from Limerick has been on to me as well, so this is happening all over the place," he said.
"I fully appreciate what that garda said, but most definitely if I see a drone which I feel is invading my privacy, I will take it down by whatever means necessary."
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