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Vintage tractors and sheds destroyed in farm arson attack

November 16, 2015

A local farmer whose property was destroyed in an arson attack at the weekend has branded those responsible as “thugs with no regard for life or livelihood”.

Kevin Rowland says he is shocked and angry at the attack, which completely gutted two cattle sheds on his farmland at Cregganduff, near Crossmaglen.  Two valuable vintage tractors were also destroyed in the blaze.

Mr Rowland was alerted at 6.00am on Saturday morning when he received a phone call from the local fire brigade to inform him that firefighters were currently tackling a blaze at his property.  It’s believed the fire may have been started around 4.30am.

The loss of the sheds and tractors will run to tens of thousands of pounds and has left the devastated farmer facing the winter with no shelter to house his livestock.

Mr Rowland explained that one of the tractors destroyed had been stolen last month and subsequently recovered.  It’s his belief that the culprits returned to attempt to steal the vehicle again and, when it wouldn’t start, they set fire to the sheds.

Speaking to The Examiner from the scene of the devastation on Saturday morning, he said, “We had a Ford 4000 tractor stolen on 25th October and recovered it on 31st October after it was driven into a bog on the Lake Road in Cullyhanna.  It looks like whoever is responsible for the fire tried to start the tractor but couldn’t get it going.”

Describing the scene, he added: “When I arrived this morning the roof of the sheds was already coming down and there is no saving either of them.  They will both have to be levelled to the ground.  Replacing these sheds will cost me thousands of pounds and I have thirty head of cattle that I have to winter without shelter. We were actually planning to move the cattle to the sheds today so it’s only by chance that they weren’t in the sheds when they were set alight.

“These thugs have no regard for people’s lives or livelihood.”

Police are investigating the crime and have appealed for anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area, or who have information relating to the incident, to contact them.

The Rowland family would like to say a special thanks to the Fire Service, neighbours and friends for their help and support over the weekend.

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