A New Holland TM140 stolen from Enniscorthy Motor Company has been recovered in England after an eagle-eyed Meath farmer spotted it at one of Europe's biggest tractor auctions.
While gardai from the Stolen Vehicle Unit have confirmed they are working with their British counterparts to examine and identify a tractor impounded there last week, they declined to give any further details about the tractor in question, adding that the investigation was ongoing.
"We are following a line of inquiry and liaising with our British colleagues," said Detective Sergeant Eugene O'Sullivan.
However, Enniscorthy Motor Company's Larry O'Shaughnessy confirmed that the stolen tractor is due to be returned to Wexford this week and paid tribute to the gardai for their handling of the case.
"It was great police work. They really followed it to the ends of the Earth," said Mr O'Shaughnessy.
The TM140, which was stolen in Mullingar by a buyer who paid with a bogus bank draft, was offered for sale at a monthly machinery sale in Cambridge, England, last week.
Run by auctioneering firm Cheffins, the Cambridge sale is the largest monthly sale of its type in Europe, if not the world, offering more than 500 tractors and 2,000 lots of construction and agricultural equipment a month.
Fortunately, an observant former customer of the Enniscorthy Motor Company spotted that a New Holland TM130 he was looking at in the sale actually had the spec of a New Holland TM140 and contacted the machinery dealers to alert them.
The tractor had been fitted with fictitious Mayo registration plates and serial numbers, as well as new TM130 stickers.
The Garda Stolen Vehicle Unit is continuing its investigation into the bogus bank draft theft.
It is believed that the same modus operandi has been used at least five times, with the thieves successful in stealing tractors on two occasions.