Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Farmers on alert as cattle rustling, thefts rise

Edel O'Connell

CATTLE rustling is making an unlikely return as criminals target farms in the recession.

Gardai said yesterday that organised gangs were also stealing hundreds of thousands of euro worth of farm equipment and selling it in the UK and Eastern Europe.

There has been a significant increase in farm-related crime over the past 12 months.

Farmer Frank Hannigan from Clonee Road in Co Dublin was among those affected.

He recently woke up to discover €5,000 worth of equipment had been stolen from his farmyard overnight.

"We had all the security we could possibly have," he told the Irish Independent.

"We locked all of our gates and doors, but that wasn't a deterrent enough for the intruders," he said.

The thieves entered Mr Hannigan's property through a gap in a hedge and used a battery grinder to cut through his locks.

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"They stole diesel and welders, grinders, generators and other equipment, worth about €5,000 in total," he said.


Mr Hannigan is now installing CCTV on his farmyard with 24-hour rolling surveillance cameras.

Sgt Alan Roughneen of the Garda Crime Prevention Unit confirmed there had been a noticeable increase in farm-related crime, particularly the theft of tractors and trailers, over the last 12 months.

Last week, three tractors worth almost €200,000 were stolen from a Bord na Mona compound in Westmeath.

And even cattle rustling is occurring in rural areas.

"There have been cases of cattle rustling and farmers attempting to integrate stolen cattle into their own herds over the last 12 months," Sgt Roughneen said.

Eddie Downey, deputy president of the Irish Farmers Association, said there was a palpable fear in rural areas across the country as a result of the increase in crime.

"There is petty crime going on all the time, and also more serious activity where farmers are being threatened and intimidated by individuals," Mr Downey said.

"The theft of diesel is also a huge issue. There is a lot of fear over this in the farming community, particularly among older farmers who live alone," he added.

Irish Independent