Plan to stop theft of farm machinery unveiled by Garda

More than €1.7 million worth of farm property stolen in the past year

Crowds at the Ploughing: A new plan to tackle the theft of farm machinery was announced  at the National Ploughing Championships.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Crowds at the Ploughing: A new plan to tackle the theft of farm machinery was announced at the National Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

A new plan to tackle the theft of farm machinery was announced by interim Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and the Irish Farmers’ Association at the National Ploughing Championships yesterday.

Garda figures show that more than €1.7 million worth of property was stolen from farms in the past year.

A Garda spokesman said the most common category of property taken in the past year was farm equipment, with trailers being a particular target for thieves.

“Theft Stop” provides farmers with a security ID, linked to their IFA membership number, to mark equipment. This will be linked to a national database. Farmers can purchase stencil kits and a metal stamping kit for use on hidden parts of their machines, as well as farm gate signs saying their machinery has been security marked.

As a further deterrent to criminals, the details and serial numbers of stolen equipment will be on the theftstop.ie website and can be viewed by would-be buyers.

A pilot “Theft Stop” project has been running since January and no marked items have been stolen since it started.

Theft deterrent

Eddie Downey

“It is estimated that theft from farms has increased by 40 per cent in recent years,” he said. “Stencilling your equipment will act as a crime deterrent and in turn make your farm more secure”.

Earlier yesterday, Fianna Fáil’s agriculture spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív, said incoming EU commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan must put the exploitation of farmers by large supermarkets top of his agenda.

“Artificial barriers have been put in place by powerful interests which are having a detrimental impact on farmers all over the country,” he said.

“We have seen in recent months a crisis in the beef trade, pressure on liquid milk farmers and totally unfair practices in relation to fruit and vegetables where produce is being sold at a below-cost price.”

Mr Ó Cuív said there was a commitment in the Lisbon Treaty to ensure that farmers could make a fair living from the land. “It is our intention to raise the issue of fair prices for farmers on a policy level with the EU Commission.”