Working together to beat rural crime

(From left) Insp Leslie Badger, PSNI, Supt. Brian Kee PSNI, Danny Gray, DAERA, Barclay Bell. President UFU and Sinead Simpson, Department of Justice, pictured at the launch of the Rural Crime Partnership campaign in Markethill Livestock Market.  Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons
(From left) Insp Leslie Badger, PSNI, Supt. Brian Kee PSNI, Danny Gray, DAERA, Barclay Bell. President UFU and Sinead Simpson, Department of Justice, pictured at the launch of the Rural Crime Partnership campaign in Markethill Livestock Market. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

A new campaign has been launched to tackle rural crime following a rise in the number of reported incidents.

Forty-eight crimes were recorded in Mid and East Antrim last year compared to 36 during 2015 in the borough.

Across Northern Ireland, there was a rise from 553 incidents during 2015 to 560 last year.

In response, the Rural Crime Partnership which includes representatives from the Department of Justice (DoJ), Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), NFU Mutual (NFU) and Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFC), is working with Crimestoppers to encourage reporting and ask the public to give information anonymously about rural crime across Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein representative Oliver McMullan commented: “At this time of year, rural crime can be a big problem with the theft of sheep and lambs or machinery. This is bad news for farmers who have built up a herd or flock over the years.

“As a result, insurance premiums go up in price for everyone. Any initiative to deal with rural and agriculture crime is to be welcomed.”

Welcoming the initiative, PSNI Superintendent Brian Kee, service lead for rural and wildlife crime said: “Information received from Crimestoppers will be combined with intelligence from other sources to build a more detailed picture of rural crime.”

UFU President Barclay Bell added: “Don’t wait for crime to happen. Have a look around your premises, and try to do so with a thief’s eye, looking for vulnerable spots and areas in permanent darkness. This could help make your property less appealing to a thief.”

Farmers should report anything suspicious to the PSNI on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A trailer marking event will be held at Larne Market Yard on May 4. Ring Constable Laura Barrett on 07500904397 to book a place.