Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 26 May 2018

Farmers threatened and intimidated on their own lands by illegal coursers

Stock picture
Stock picture
The incidents have been linked to an increase in illegal coursing
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

Farmers are being threatened and intimidated on their own lands by people involved in illegal coursing.

In a sinister twist, one landowner, who had confronted people on his land, later received a phone call from someone informing him they were on his property and knew he wasn't at home.

The intruder had obtained the farmer's mobile phone number from an inspection notice he was obliged to display on his property.

A surge in similar incidents, linked to an increase in illegal coursing, prompted a public meeting in Co Kerry on Friday night.

The meeting in Tarbert Community Centre was organised by the IFA in conjunction with An Garda Síochána and aimed to raise awareness about security and steps people could take to protect themselves and their property. Chairman of Kerry IFA, Pat O'Driscoll, said there had been a worrying increase of incidents in the north of the county where this activity was being used as a means to case properties and return later to commit a theft.

"We had received a lot of reports about people coming on to land with lurchers to lamp hares in the general north Kerry area but particularly in Ardfert, Kilmoyley, Lixnaw," Mr O'Driscoll told Farming Independent.

"There was one incident in particular where the farmer had approached the people and later got a phone call from them, and they had got the number on his milking parlour door.

"This was purely to intimidate him and make him feel uncomfortable but what I'm hearing at branch meetings is that farmers are afraid to go down the yard and check their livestock at night because they don't know who's out there.

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"People are afraid but they're also annoyed, but farmers are part of the solution as well," Mr O'Driscoll added. "They have to inform the gardaí of any suspicious activity and allow them to build a picture and deal with it.

"The advice from the gardaí is do not approach these people yourself, even if they're on your land."

Gardaí have advised members of the public to report any suspicious vehicles or people and, crucially, to ask the name of the garda to whom they make the report.

Security specialist Barry Carey, IFA's crime prevention officer, stressed that rural Ireland was not under siege.

However, he highlighted measures that can be taken such as locked gates, outdoor lighting and 'TheftStop', its theft prevention system, in partnership with the gardaí, that proved ownership to increase the likelihood of recovery and secure a prosecution in the event of a theft being committed.


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