IFA’s Rural Crime Prevention Executive, Colin Connolly gives some advice on protecting your livestock from theft
Across the country, farmers are very concerned about the increase in livestock theft incidents. You can help to reduce your chances of becoming a victim by understanding how thefts occur and being vigilant against them.
Not every criminal can steal livestock; thieves need a working knowledge of livestock, they need a market and they need to be familiar with the area. A criminal involved in livestock theft will have visited a number of times before they strike. They will look for signs of weakness, such as a neglected breakdown in a fence or a field that is not often visited.
- Make sure your boundaries are secure – use fencing and hedging to make any boundary robust; inspect boundaries regularly; and, repair any damage in a timely fashion.
- If you are living a distance from your farm, try to alter your routine for checking livestock; don’t be predictable.
- You could come to an agreement with neighbours or other farmers in a similar situation to assist each other in monitoring stock.
- If you are going to be away for a period of time, get somebody you trust to inspect your livestock.
- Check stock regularly, have a system in place for this – maintain a record and report anything that is out of the ordinary to An Garda Siochana.
- Any unexplained loss or suspicious activity should be reported to the Gardai immediately. Use your local text alert system for this activity too. It’s important to make your community aware of what has happened and somebody might have noticed suspicious activity
- If you have any information, or witness suspicious activity, report it to An Garda Siochana.
To combat the problem of livestock theft, IFA has offered a reward fund of €10,000 for significant information leading to a conviction. The reward is offered as part of joint campaign with Crimestoppers and An Garda Siochana. You can contact your local Garda Station or Crimestoppers on 1800 25 00 25 in strict confidence.