Knowledge Transfer meeting: ‘Tractors and quads main focus for thieves’

One third of tractors are stolen with the key in the ignition; two thirds of vans taken from farms have the keys in them; while one-in-six quads stolen also have the key in them, a Knowledge Transfer meeting has heard.

These were the statistics given by Sergeant Paul McDermott, Longford/Roscommon Crime Prevention Officer (CPO) at the recently held meeting which took place in Granard Mart.

“Keys need to be brought into the house; do not leave them in machinery or vehicles,” he added, before pointing to the fact that burglars’ main focus was on the theft of tractors and quads.

Mark the vehicles with your Eircode, take photos or record them and keep the keys to yourself. Review the on-farm security on a regular basis and control access to the farm.

“Access control is what crime prevention is about – if somebody can drive into your farmyard, grab a few bales of cheep wire, throw it into the back of the jeep and pull a trailer off then that’s too easy; it needs to be much harder.”

Storage and Security

Sergeant McDermott also pointed to the fact that every farmer held an onus of responsibility in ensuring that security was top priority on their farms.

“You might have a piece of equipment that’s very big but if you can get it into a shed, put a bar across the entrance and place a high-quality padlock on it – that stops the opportunist,” he continued.

“Keep the keys away from vehicles that are not in use; check livestock and stock regularly; have a record of everything; and keep your property marked with your Eircode.

“High-quality padlocks should be used at all times on sheds and get your tools in there. If anyone wants advice about this just call into your local garda station and you will get all the information you need.

It’s about people talking about it, sharing information and helping each other out. For the Gardai to know what’s going on, we need all crimes to be reported. Please report any suspicions to us; we would rather be called and not needed as opposed to being needed and not called.

The garda CPO then advised farmers to report thefts no matter how insignificant they may feel the incident was.

“The figures I have given you are based on reported crimes; every community group in Co. Longford now has text alert so there is no reason for burglaries on farms to go unreported.”

Self-Defence

The meeting in Granard Mart also heard that farmers have every right to defend themselves, their family or their property from harm.

“The law was changed in 2012 in relation to this whole area; yes you can defend yourself and yes you are entitled to defend yourself,” said Sergeant McDermott.

“You are entitled to stand your ground within your house and within the curtilage of the property.”

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