Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Cross-border farm raids recover hundreds of animals

Officials are inspecting hundreds of animals which were recovered during a cross-border operation carried out on farms in Armagh and Monaghan on Thursday morning.

The joint taskforce of 20 PSNI officers and a team of gardaí investigating livestock theft were involved in the searches which centred around two sheds.

Around 300 animals are being checked by officials to determine their ownership, after 35 cows and 15 sheep were found at the farm in south Armagh, while 250 sheep were discovered on a nearby farm on the Monaghan side of the border.

Insp Leslie Badger said carrying out such an operation can be risky.

“You have to consider your security when you are doing these operations,” he said.

“It’s not only the terrorism element to Northern Ireland, but also the criminality element – we have some criminals out there who would try to frustrate police actions and disrupt us.”

The Inspector also underlined the importance of collaborating with Gardai in order to combat rural crime.

“We rely heavily on our partners in the Republic of Ireland, An Garda Síochána, and it’s with their help we can go in here – a property that straddles both sides of the border,” he said.

The PSNI say whilst they did not find any clear evidence of animal theft, they did however find breaches in animal welfare and documentation.

The police also found some Identification ear tags which did not belong to the herd of cattle seized, duringin the raids.

Insp Badger added that he was pleased with the findings of the search operation.

“It disrupts this type of activity – this is a big footprint into this area in relation to the viability and the traceability of our animals – which end up on our tables,” he said.