Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

'Rural Ireland is like the wild west' says farmer who has been robbed five times

Brian Carberry and his son Gavin
Brian Carberry and his son Gavin
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A 67-year-old farmer – who has been the victim of crime five times - has told how thieves broke into his farm in the middle of the night and stole €40,000 worth of grain.

Brian Carberry from Ardee, Co Louth said 200 tonnes of grain were stolen from his farm on December 13, 2013 at 3.30am.

The cost of the crime was three-fold, he said, because the thief also damaged his farm building during the theft, and the farmer also had to buy the same amount of grain again to fulfil a pre-signed contract with a buyer.

His son Gavin told a packed audience at the Irish Independent Talks Stage at the National Ploughing Championships this afternoon that rural Ireland is now like the “wild west”.

“We feel very bitter and hurt about the whole thing. Financially, something like the theft of 200 tonnes of grain takes a few years to get over, but also you’re living in fear afterwards as well. We want justice,” Brian added.

“As it is, rural Ireland is like the wild west,” Gavin told the Irish Independent’s Crime Correspondent Paul Williams.

Brian’s 65-year-old wife now has trouble sleeping, and becomes fearful any time she hears engine sounds at night.

“It’s not only the effect of the crime on the farmer; my mother who is there 45 years, she wants to sell the farm,” Gavin said.

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“We were all having nightmares about it, but yet nothing was ever done about it and now we’re two years down the road and probably nothing is going to be done about it.”

 “At the time, my child was four years old and it was coming up to Christmas, and he asked me ‘Daddy, you know the person who stole your grain, will he come and take my toys?”

In previous thefts on the farm, two grain trailers and two tractors were taken – one of which the Carberrys had to buy back with a €5,000 ransom.

The father and son told this evening that no prosecutions have taken place in connection with any of the five thefts.

Gavin said farmers targeted by thieves will eventually feel they should take matters into their own hands.

“Someday, somebody is going to blow the head off somebody with a shotgun.”

“At the time, the guards said they were investigating and the file went to the DPP. Since then, the thief has made an admission to this in writing but yet nothing has been done.”

“If I was wearing no seatbelt, I’d be done for not wearing a seat belt. But somebody is able to come into somebody’s farm at 3.30 at night and remove this stuff.”

Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack Nolan said today that since the creation of Operation Fiacla, 14,000 people have been arrested for robberies, and 9,000 people have been charged and brought through the courts for robberies in Ireland.

He said the issue of rural crime is “very important” to An Garda Siochana, and he appealed to people not to buy stolen goods, and to report all crimes.

“This morning the Garda Commissioner spoke about not accepting bargains. We all know this. If it’s cheap it’s too good to be true.”

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