Farmers have been urged to take extra precautions to ensure their tools and farm machinery are safely stored away during the busy silage and cereal harvesting season.

Easily moved tools, quads, horse tackle and gardening equipment are all being targeted by criminals, according to An Garda Siochana’s Chief Superintendent, Ger Dillane.

He made the comments at a meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee last week. Quads are seen as a very popular choice among thieves in Co. Cork, Chief Superintendent Dillane added.

quads, farm

Quads are popular choices among thieves

“There’s been a rise in the number of quads stolen in the last few months. They’re generally taken from outhouses or farmyards away from the house.

During spells of fine weather, farmers can be very busy at silage or other jobs. When they’re rushing from one job to another, these quads mightn’t be properly locked away.

“We want to work together with people to reduce the level of thefts, but we also need people to take responsibility for their property,” he said.

Theft trends

The senior ranking Garda added that thieves are scoping properties out before they intend to carry out a robbery.

“In one instance, a person – with a balaclava covering their face – entered a farmyard and gathered up tools and horse tackle.

“They placed them in a heap beside a gate, before a van pulled up outside and was loaded. There was no way of identifying the person and the CCTV did not catch the van’s registration,” he added.

The benefits of robbery deterrents, such as CCTV and locks, were also underlined by Chief Superintendent Dillane.

You can’t be there to mind your property all of the time. It is also important to buy materials from a reputable source – such as a local co-op or hardware store.

“People who call to your door with stuff to sell may actually be only looking for an excuse to look around your property, or to see whether or not you have cash in the house.

“It may be more expensive to buy off a reputable source in the short term, but there will be less risks in the long run,” he added.

Members of An Garda Siochana – across the country – are dedicated to serving farmers and those living in rural areas; but everyone needs to work together to stamp out rural crime, Chief Superintendent Dillane concluded.