FARMERS from all over Larne borough brought more than 70 trailers to be security-marked at a Rural Crime Prevention Advice Centre held at the Wellington Rec Football Club last week.
The identification process, which is intended to deter thieves, is part of a major push to crack down on the rising crime rate in the countryside.
The PSNI, the East Antrm branch of Ulster Farmers’ Union and Larne District Policing Partnership were all represented at the event, which was a deemed a resounding success despite icy roads, biting winds and snow flurries.
Larne DPP manager Wendy Carson, local PSNI inspector Noel Rogan and William Cross, East Antrum UFU general manager joined with Patricia McNeill, DPP vice-chairman, in organising the day-long facility to provide farmers and other rural residents with specialised advice from PSNI crime prevention officers. Firms providing security lighting, alarms and locks were also in attendance, while Larne Borough Council staff were on hand with advice regarding dogs, home energy and safety.
Neighbourhood Watch provided a stand and such was the response it is hoped to have two new units in the borough.
Patricia McNeill, who is also a member of the PSNI’s H Division Rural Crime Forum, praised the “tremendous efforts” of Sgt Colin Skinner, Constables Craig, Brown and Beattie, and Emma Lowry and Judith Lavery, crime prevention officers, who marked the trailers in biting cold weather from 10am to 7pm.
She commended the officers for their “total commitment to addressing the issues of rural crime” and expressed thanks to Insp Rogan and Mr Cross and their teams for making the event such a success.
The DPP vice-chairman added: “The organisers were delighted that District Commander Chief Superintendent Chris Noble was able to attend the event, as it was he who initiated a Rural Crime Forum for the district, which involves one DPP representative from each of the five council areas of Moyle, Coleraine, Ballymoney, Ballymena and Larne to tackle crime in the largely rural population of the division. The DPP chairman Ald Winston Fulton and the Larne Borough Council chief executive Geraldine McGahey also attended the event, as did some councillors.
“It is hoped that rural crime will be reduced in the borough, but it is the task of all to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police by phoning 0845 600 8000 or in the case of an emergency to dial 999.
“The wish from the event organisers is that Larne borough residents will drive carefully and have a happy, safe and crime-free Christmas.”