Theft of £100k tractor big blow to farming family
An Armagh farming family, including an elderly man who suffers from dementia, have been left distressed after thieves stole a tractor and farming equipment worth £100,000.
WA Livingstone on Lisnafeedy Road is owned by brothers Stanley and Randal Livingstone and their father Wesley, but the 90-year-old has taken a back seat due to health problems.
"This theft has caused a lot of stress," Stanley told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It was taken just yards from the kitchen window.
"It's scary to think that someone was creeping about so close to the house.
"Sometimes I go out to the cows or my sons go out - who knows what could have happened."
The family's John Deere 6210R tractor - registration UJZ 5092 - and a three-tonne Sulky DX40 fertiliser sower were stolen early yesterday morning.
Stanley, who was woken by a concerned neighbour at 2.20am, said it's the fifth such incident in five years, and has panicked his dad.
"He still picks up on things and knows that something has happened, but it's caused all of us stress because we don't have a machine to keep up with the workload," he said. "We've hardly done a thing today and we'll be working all night to make up for it. It's not just a case of our insurance premium going through the roof."
Stanley, who went out "scouting for her" with friends after being alerted to the theft, said he came close to getting the tractor back.
"My friend met her on the road but by the time he turned back she was gone. I came across a black Ford Focus with tinted windows but when I approached the occupants they sped off," he explained.
The stolen tractor has been the pride and joy of the annual tractor run, held on the last Saturday in December, which was launched by the family five years ago. The event has grown in popularity with more than 600 tractors and £120,000 raised in 2016 alone.
DUP MLA William Irwin condemned the theft, which he said had caused revulsion throughout the farming community. He called for a greater police presence.
"This is another despicable crime committed by those who have nothing whatsoever to offer society and prey on decent people in the darkness of the night," he said. Police said the tractor was last seen in the Keady/Derrynoose area and they suspect it was driven down Monaghan Road towards the border.
They have appealed for anyone who saw the tractor, which has WA Livingstone and Sons stickers on each side and on the roof, to contact them immediately on 101.