Opinion: Unpunished criminals are ruining lives

Stock photo
Stock photo

Deborah Coleman

While every community has its challenges in terms of crime, I was shocked this week to hear the scale of what is happening in many isolated areas around the country on a far too regular basis.

Everyone has heard the horror stories about farmers being intimidated on their own property, but it appears that there is hardly anyone in the farming community who has not had at least one encounter with unwanted visitors to their yard.

I heard an interview with a farmer in recent days, speaking about how he was almost driven over in his own yard when he attempted to photograph a couple of thugs who had tried to frighten him into buying tools.

As they fled, they threatened to return and 'burn him out', ensuring that their intimidation lasted long after their unwelcome visit.

This sort of crime is all too familiar for many people in the farming sector, and many of them believe it is simply just one of those things.

It was outlined that so many victims don't even report incidents as they feel that nothing can be done to the offenders.

It doesn't matter what type of CCTV or security system a farmer has in place, if these people are determined to target them, there is very little that can be done to stop them. Nobody was ever caught for that incident and therefore these criminals know how easy it is to get away with it.

If criminals are almost certain that they will go unpunished and victims have no faith in the system, then how can anything be done to stamp out such serious crime?

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Like many, I am disgusted that anyone who is decent, hard-working and going about their business on their own property, should be victim to intimidation by career criminals who think nothing of assaulting, threatening and robbing them, simply because they want money and are not bothered to work for it.

Gangs like this inflict such horror on innocent people time and time again without guilt or remorse, but for the victim, one such incident can be life-changing.

As farming is a sector where most business-owners are ageing and often working alone, it has emerged as one of the prime targets for this type of crime.

Until there are more convictions for those engaging in such, there will be no change.

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