Farmers in the area are being urged to remain vigilant
amid concerns over the rising tide of rural crime.
Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ian Marshall stressed that rural crime was becoming more and more of an issue, this following confirmation from rural insurer NFU Mutual that the value of stolen goods from farms amounted to £3.9 million in 2013, an increase of 15% on 2012.
“The rural crime figures indicate this is a major issue which must be dealt with head on,” he said.
“The unfortunate reality is that farmers are having valuable livestock and machinery stolen on a regular basis, which is having a devastating impact on their businesses and families.
“The cost of livestock theft in particular has risen by a staggering 25% across the UK as thieves target sheep and cattle, making 2013 one of the worst years on record. F
“Furthermore, a surge in cattle and sheep rustling in Northern Ireland has ranked us as the most seriously affected part of the UK for livestock theft.
“These statistics however won’t shock farmers who know from experience that theft from farmyards and livestock from fields is an all-too common and costly occurrence.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of being vigilant and would advise farmers to take the necessary precautions to ensure tools, machinery, livestock, equipment and property are secure. “
Mr Marshall said the UFU would continue to work closely with the PSNI on what he called “ this important issue” and had stressed repeatedly that more had to be done to ensure consistency across Northern Ireland.