A new campaign is being launched today to combat the problem of farm related crime and thefts.
Every year thousands of tools, vehicles and farm machinery and equipment are stolen from farms throughout Ireland.
Since 2010, over 28,642 farm related crime incidents have been reported to Garda, including burglaries and vehicle, machinery and equipment theft, according to the latest CSO figures.
The most common incidents are thefts from farm yards, with over 2,000 incidents being reported every year since 2010. The next most common occurrence is theft from outhouses or sheds, followed by burglary.
Jointly organised by Crimestoppers, the Irish Farmers Association, an Garda Síochána and DoneDeal the campaign is aiming to raise awareness among the public and in particular those in the farming community, of the issue of thefts from farms.
This initiative follows the joint campaign run by Crimestoppers and the IFA last year to combat livestock theft.
Farmers are being reminded to sign up to the TheftStop scheme (www.theftstop.ie).
The joint initiative by the IFA and An Garda Síochána provides members with a unique Security I.D.
Members can then mark their machinery and equipment with this I.D and upload an image of the item to the TheftStop site.
Marked and branded items are significantly less attractive to criminals to steal as they’ll be more easily recognisable by the public and harder to sell on.
Information on any suspicious activity can be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers confidential telephone service by calling 1800 25 00 25. Alternatively, information can be provided to your local Garda station.
Tim Dalton, Chairman, Crimestoppers said, “We provide a fully confidential means for every citizen to report crime, without fear of recrimination. Calls are free and the information is given completely anonymously.
“The service consistently elicits very valuable information to assist investigations in both rural and urban Ireland.
“As well as enabling members of the public to report crime safely and anonymously, an ongoing task of Crimestoppers is to encourage the spread of information to make the public more aware of steps we can all take to reduce the risk of becoming crime victims in the first place.
“We hope this joint campaign will help rural dwellers to avoid becoming victims of farm related crime and thefts.”
IFA President Joe Healy said, “Theft Stop is one of a number of initiatives that IFA is working on for farm families and people living in rural communities. In the last 10 months, it has been rolled out across 12 counties – Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Galway, Cavan, Monaghan, Cork, Cavan, Limerick, Meath, Sligo and Leitrim.”
“We recognise the importance of providing support and assistance to our members because of the prevalence of crime in rural communities.
“Our Crime Prevention Officer Colin Connolly is working through our County Executive network to give farmers his insight as a former Garda and through practical advice and anti-crime tips.”
Finbarr Garland, Customer Safety Liaison Officer with DoneDeal commented, “More and more farmers are using DoneDeal to buy and sell tractors and farm machinery – over 830,442 farming related ads were placed on our site in the last five years.
In the last 12 months, 18,121 tractors were advertised and 31,422 items of farm machinery.”
“While only a tiny amount of these ads (0.76%) are reported as suspicious, we regularly remind those using our site of tips on how to stay safe online. These include:
l Beware if the goods are cheaper than normal;
l Never transfer money without seeing the tractor or machinery first;
l Make sure to test drive and inspect tractors and machinery first for potential problems;
l Bring someone familiar with the machinery with you.
“By following these measures, and reporting any suspicious items to us, we can all help to keep buying and selling online safe.”
If you have any information in relation to farm related crime, you can contact your local Garda Station or Crimestoppers on 1800 25 00 25.
Your call to Crimestoppers is free and anonymous and you might receive a reward for information.