Farmers must get ‘serious’ about crime prevention, warn Gardaí
Only a fraction of IFA members have signed up to the association’s anti-theft initiative, prompting calls for farmers to get serious about crime prevention measures.
The ‘TheftStop’ programme was launched two years ago but IFA crime prevention officer Barry Carey told the Farming Independent that less than 100 farmers from a total membership of 76,000 had availed of the programme.
TheftStop involves farmers marking their equipment and registering the details on an IFA database, but Mr Carey said that while “everyone agreed that it was a very good idea, they seemed to find it cumbersome and it never took off”.
Crime prevention officer Sergeant Tom O’Dwyer said farmers “will have to take security (on their farms) much more seriously” if the work of the gardaí in combating rural crime is to be successful.
“It is very difficult for the gardaí to prosecute if the ownership of equipment which we have recovered cannot be established and we are not in a position to have proof that it was stolen,” he said.
“Last year, we displayed hundreds of items that had been recovered, but only three items could be returned to their owner because they were not marked and farmers could not produce any proof of ownership.”
The IFA is now looking at linking up with a new community-driven property marking scheme involving county joint policing committees, local authorities and groups such as Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch.
James O’Neill, development manager of Property Marking Ireland, said the not-for-profit scheme is operating in counties Monaghan, Cavan and Sligo “with very encouraging results”.