Banbridge District’s large rural community stands to benefit from a newly announced funding package to encourage farmers to fit security devices to their machinery.
Justice Minister David Ford and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill announced recently that farmers in farm theft hotspots would have access to support funding to fit Tracker and Cesar security devices to their equipment.
The security devices allow police to locate and recover stolen machinery or equipment.
“Farming communities have been hard hit by agri-crime in recent times,” said Mr Ford.
“The theft of machinery, in some cases particularly high value machinery, is distressing for the victims and can damage the sustainability of farming businesses.
“Therefore it is important that farmers take steps to protect their farms, their livestock and their machinery.
“By providing funding support for security devices I hope more farmers will be encouraged to take the steps they need to help protect their property.”
He went on to encourage those living in rural areas to engage with their local Policing and Community Safety Partnerships to ensure their views and needs were reflected in local action plans.
Michelle O’Neill, meanwhile, welcomed the initiative and urged farmers to take all practical steps to protect their equipment and livestock.
Chief Superintendent Brian Kee is the Police Service’s lead on agricultural crime.
He said, “Increased vigilance and security are key elements in denying criminals an opportunity of stealing machinery or equipment.”
He pointed out: “Criminals are looking to exploit soft targets.”