Farm security: Best practice advice for when strangers come calling

While visits to farmyards are at a low ebb at present during current restrictions, a number of farmers have had visits from both genuine callers and less scrupulous strangers in recent months – with farm thefts still an ongoing problem.

A list of tips and farm security advice has been provided for Irish farmers by An Garda Síochána to help counter this issue.

First off, there are a number of “right things” that rural dwellers should do.

These include the following:
  • Make a record of vehicle makes, colours and registration numbers of strangers when they call to your farm;
  • Note the general description of callers – e.g. height, accent, gait, nationality, hair colour, eye colour, tattoos etc;
  • Contact your local Garda station as soon as possible;
  • Mark all your property with your unique personal ID;
  • Keep a record of serial numbers to cross reference;
  • Consider installing GPS tracking systems on your equipment.

Meanwhile, farmers are urged NOT to: buy machinery, trailers, tractors, quads, ride-on lawnmowers and so on from strangers; or pay cash for goods. They are urged to remember – no receipt means no guarantee.

Gardaí also issued a reminder that if you are in possession of stolen goods, you may be liable for prosecution.

An Garda Síochána offered some additional basic tips to protect your house and farm.

These include:
  • Consider appropriate good-quality locks, bolts and bars on doors and windows;
  • Always secure your home, close and lock windows and doors – even if you’re only going out for a short time;
  • Don’t hide spare keys outside;
  • Don’t leave ladders or other climbing aids lying around outside. Ensure windows, skylights and vents are protected from potential burglars.

Other general advice offered includes consider an intruder alarm and keep your access gates to your property closed – with appropriate signage also an option. In addition, a dog can be a noisy deterrent to intruders.

Finally, Gardaí advise that – in all aspects of security regarding your home and business – good neighbourliness and vigilance are the most effective deterrent against crime and the detection of offenders.

Farmers are advised to: watch out for your neighbours and their property; consider joining a local community alert; and report any suspicious activity to your local Garda station immediately.