GARDAÍ believe a ‘highly skilled’ gang are responsible for a spate of recent thefts
GARDAÍ believe that a “highly-skilled’ gang is behind the recent spate of thefts of specialised GPS guidance systems from machinery at farms and agricultural contractor yards across the North Cork region.
Fermoy-based crime prevention officer Sergeant John Kelly this follows on from multiple reports of similar thefts in the Dublin and Midlands areas earlier his year.
“It would appear the thieves are now targeting locations in the south of the country as evidenced by the increase in the number of reported incidents across the North Cork region over the past couple of weeks,” said Sgt Kelly.
“A number of these units have been stolen from individual farms and multiples of them from agricultural contractor’s yards,” he added.
He said the GPS domes and screens in question, which are used to map terrain and increase agricultural yields, can be worth tens of thousands of Euros each and are specifically tailored to each tractor or piece of farm machinery.
“It takes time and effort to remove these units, which is why the thefts are predominantly taking place during the night. It also requires a working knowledge of these units to ensure they are not damaged when they are stolen,” said Sgt Kelly.
“This is why we believe that this is the work of a highly-skilled gang that scope out locations, possibly for days, before making their move. It is our belief that these units are then being spirited out of the country as it is highly likely they could be traced back to the original owner if offered for sale on the domestic black market,” he added.
Sgt Kelly urged farmers and contractors to beef security around their premises and take simple steps to avoid falling victim to this type of crime.
“These thieves are well-organised and know exactly what they are looking for. So, it essential that farmers and contractors, where possible, remove GPS kits from their machines when they are not in use and store the units securely,” said Sgt Kelly.
He also recommended that those with GPS system activate PIN numbers security codes and on older models without this type of anti-theft device they mark units with indelible ink which will make them easier to trace and more difficult to move on.
“The best way to deter thieves is to increase security around farms and yards by installing electric gates and CCTV monitoring systems and if possible ensure that machinery is kept under lock and key when not in use,” said Sgt Kelly.
He also urged people to be on the look out for suspicious activity such as unusual vehicle movements or drones over farms and yards.
“These thefts can prove extremely costly to farmers and contractors and cause them a major amount of inconvenience,” said Sgt Kelly.
“By taking simple steps and precautions they can increase their chances of not falling victim to this type of crime,” he added.