Belfast Telegraph

Police in crackdown on £3.9m farm crime

By Harriet Crawford

Police have launched an anti-crime blitz on farms in Co Antrim in a bid to cut offences that cost the economy £3.9m a year.

The FarmWatch project saw officers visit 30 farms in areas in and around Ballymoney including Finvoy, Rasharkin, Balnamore, Corkey and Cloughmills.

It was the culmination of an 18-month programme highlighting potential vulnerabilities and offering advice to farmers.

The theft of machinery and livestock costs our economy millions of pounds a year and County Antrim is the worst-hit area.

Farmers themselves lost an estimated £1.2m to rural crime in the county in 2013.

Among the items stolen between last year and this year include 961 sheep, 88 trailers, 77 tractors and 46 quad bikes.

PSNI Inspector David Anderson said he hoped the project would cut the rural crime rate

He added:"Although the level of farm crime in the Ballymoney area is relatively low, we are aware of the impact that theft of machinery or livestock. FarmWatch aims to make the farm as secure from thieves as practicably possible."

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