WATCH: Farmers on high alert as brazen thieves steal quad bikes in Westmeath

Evie Kearney

Star of RTÉ’s Big Week On The Farm John Fagan has said there is a rural crime "epidemic" after his quad bike was stolen from his yard this week.

The sheep farmer caught the incident at his farm in Gartlandstown, Westmeath on CCTV cameras and has described the footage as “terrifying.”

"It’s terrible, it’s so invasive of your privacy. It’s terrifying to see these sinister lads coming in on your land and into your yard,” he said.

"To see these people coming in and walking out with your livelihood essentially - I’ve a thousand sheep, how am I going to manage going around running after the sheep without a quad?”

Mr Fagan said he believes the robbery is part of a "crime epidemic" in the area.

Andrew Revington, a farmer in the neighbouring townland of Devlin, also had a quad bike stolen from his yard in the past week.

The Gardaí have confirmed they are investigating the incidents but both farmers have said they are now relying on insurance to recoup the value of the bikes.

"We had to go and buy a bike within an hour, we can’t do without it. The second phone call I made after the guards was to the main dealer to get another quad ordered," Mr Revington said.

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"The insurance has to be sorted out so I’m out the value until that is settled, so from a cash flow point of view that is a problem."

Mr Revington said his yard is particularly secure but doesn't believe any amount of signage or lighting will deter theft in the area.

"We have a pretty elaborate security system and they were still willing to chance it. They were quite happy to bang away at the lock even though there’s a house next door," he said. 

"They’ve no fear, they’re used to it. Our yard is very well floodlit and they were quite happy to walk in the lights because they were fully covered.

"It’s hard to know how much effort you need to go to to keep these guys out," he added.

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