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Gardai now targeting thefts of machinery

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Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

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Gardai have launched a new crime prevention initiative to tackle theft of farm machinery.

Speaking at the Ploughing Championships, Acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said it was very important to tackle this type of rural crime as winter nights draw in.

Garda analysis shows over €1.7m worth of property was stolen from farms in the last year, with trailers a particular target for thieves.

Irish Farmers Association president Eddie Downey said that this crime was of concern and had risen 40pc in recent years.

Garda analysis shows theft from farms fell 8pc in the past year but to reduce it further, the gardai and IFA are joining forces to roll out a Theft stop scheme countrywide after it was successfully piloted in Tipperary.

This involves marking equipment with a special security number that will act as a deterrent to criminals. Would-be buyers will be able to see if items have been stolen on a central database at the website theftstop.ie.

Ms O'Sullivan said these kind of crime prevention initiatives were very important to assist people in rural communities.

She said that as winter nights approach, the gardai are very keen to reassure people in rural communities they were working for them.

She cited initiatives like the community text alert scheme to report suspicious activity.

Mr Downey welcomed the new drive against farm crime. "Any steps that act as a crime deterrent and make farms more secure are to be welcomed," he said.

"I would encourage our members to take advantage of this joint initiative."

Farmers can register for free on theftstop.ie.

Irish Independent