Gardai are investigating after Gort Mart, Co. Galway was broken into last night (October 18) and a huge amount of damage was caused.

Councillor and mart manager Gerry Finnerty said that there was a break-in in the office last night and while nothing was stolen there was a huge amount of damage caused.

“We haven’t had it assessed yet but we think the damage is in the region of €20,000 to €50,000.

“They stole the hard drives off the CCTV system, it was cash they were looking for and it was a very professional crowd that done it.

“I’ve been there since 2002 and we’ve only had one small break-in,” he said.

Finnerty said that such break-ins have become widespread around Gort and around the country; his own home was broken into 12 months ago.

While a lot of the packages and technical support Gort Mart uses were damaged, Finnerty hopes that the mart will reopen in two days time (Wednesday).

Gardai are investigating the incident and at the time of reporting forensic investigators were at the scene.

Simple things to protect against theft on the farm

As the nights draw in the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) and NFU Mutual are urging farmers to review security arrangements to protect against theft.

UFU Deputy President, Barclay Bell said that rural crime happens all year round, but with the evenings getting darker there is now more opportunity for thieves.

“Farmers are already aware of this important issue but we are urging them to be extra vigilant and to take those extra simple steps to ensure their livestock, machinery and equipment is protected,” he said.

There are a number of simple things farmers can do to protect their livestock, machinery and equipment; the UFU has the following tips:

  • Don’t wait for crime to happen before taking action.
  • Have a look around your premises; look for vulnerable sports and areas of permanent darkness.
  • Report all incidences of theft and any suspicious behaviour to the PSNI.
  • Ensure premises are well lit.
  • Ensure gates and doors are securely locked.