Rural crime rates down by half in Armagh area
Police praise at farm show for security efforts of landowners
This year's Armagh Show was marked by the confirmation from the PSNI that rural crime rates have reduced significantly across Northern Ireland.
Inspector Kieran Quinn, who is based in Armagh City, attended the event. He said: "Rural crime figures have fallen by 48% over the past number of years.
"This is a very encouraging figure and reflects the efforts farmers are taking to prevent crimes from taking place in the first place."
He added: "There are 300 PSNI officers operating in the Banbridge, Armagh, and Craigavon areas. Our primary role is to advise farmers on how to prevent crime taking place in the first instance. The theft of a tractor, for example, is a major blow to any farming business.
"In the event of a farm or rural crime being reported, we plan to have officers on the scene within minutes. But, of course, we must operate a priority response service at all times."
Inspector Quinn said that farmers can take a number of steps to minimise the threat of theft. These include the proper lighting of farm yards at night, keeping all relevant buildings securely locked at all times and security marking all machinery.
Meanwhile, in the Armagh show rings Simon and Philip Haffey, owners of the Glasson Holstein herd, won the Dairy Inter Breed Championship with their elite third calver Glasson Goldfish Form Erle. This was the second week in a row in which they had topped the bill at a Co Armagh event, having secured the Supreme Cattle Championship at Lurgan Show the previous Saturday with the same animal.
Erle is a granddaughter of Field of Dreams Formation Erle EX95, which had previously held the top price paid for a Holstein cow of £75,000.
"She is a tremendously well-bred animal," Simon Haffey confirmed. "Our plan is to take embryos from her later in the year."
In the beef cattle rings, the Matchett family, from the Birches, also had a very successful day. Their two-year old Charolais heifer Summervilla Niki won the Beef Inter Breed Championship.
There was a great turnout at Gosford Forest Park. Frequent showers failed to dampen the enthusiasm of everyone taking part in what has now become a top event in the local calendar.