Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Rural Crime the focus of Keady meeting

At a recent meeting held in the Tommy Maken Arts Cenre in Keady the most crucial point coming from the meeting  was the importance of reporting every single crime to the PSNI, however small.’

The meeting which was hosted by Bróna Haughey, Sinn Féin Cusher representative and Cllr Darren McNally was for local farmers and concerned residents of the area to talk about and discuss rural crime in the area. 

Haughey said ‘In recent months, in this area in particular we have been getting more and more reports of rural crime including theft of livestock, agricultural vehicles and plant. These crimes puts famers at great risk and they are living in constant fear of who or what will be targeted next. We organised this meeting to tackle these issues and to give farmers the opportunity to speak to statutory agencies and to put their minds at ease.’

The meeting was well attended by farmers from the area as well as a Lorriane McKnight from Ulster Farmers’ Union, Mickey Brady MP for the area and the PNSI including Inspector Kieran Quinn. 

She continued: ‘During the meeting, Lorraine from the Farmers’ Union reassured farmers that they are doing all they can to protect farmers from these crimes and are meeting with the Rural Crime Partnership on a regular basis. She also made us aware of ‘Farm Watch’, a new scheme being launched at this year’s Balmoral Show. This scheme is to enhance farm safety and security and if you are interested to contact me to arrange the set up.’

McNally said, ‘Farmers in attendance were afforded the opportunity to speak with the police and many voiced their frustration with policing in the area and support during investigations and these issues were discussed at length. The PSNI also offered sound advice on how to avoid these crimes happening to others by fitting equipment and vehicles with tracking devices, ensuring that all machinery is locked up each night, installing adequate lighting and getting involved in the Farm Watch Scheme. However, the most crucial point from the evening was the importance of reporting every single crime to the PSNI, however small.’

Bróna concluded, ‘In 12 months from 1st October 2017 to 30th September 2018, the highest level of agriculture crime was seen in Newry, Mourne & Down (65 offences), followed by Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon (61 offences). Sinn Féin are committed to working closely with farmers and the rural community. We reiterate our calls for those involved in criminal activity to end their destructive campaign which destroys businesses and livelihoods.’