Police target rural crime

Minister of Justice, David Forde MLA visits the Police & Community Safety Partnership stand at Mullahead
Minister of Justice, David Forde MLA visits the Police & Community Safety Partnership stand at Mullahead

A new pilot scheme has been launched to deal with the problem of agricultural theft.

The initiative funded by the Department of Justice will be implemented by the Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) together with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Around 200 farms will be encouraged to take part in the scheme which was launched at this year’s Mullahead Ploughing Match in February.

At the launch Justice Minister David Ford said: “Farm theft can have a devastating impact on victims, both emotionally and financially, so I am pleased that my

Department can support this trial of forensic marking to help prevent and detect theft from farms.

“Used in conjunction with warning signs, forensic marking is an effective theft deterrent and can aid in assisting the police in tracing the rightful owners of recovered property.”

SelectaDNA is a traceable forensic marking solution with a unique DNA code that can be easily applied to items of value such as farm equipment. In the event that any items are stolen and recovered by police, they are immediately traceable back to the individual farm.

PCSP Chairman Alderman Robert Smith said: ““Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon PCSP is happy to be part of this pilot project and to be able to provide some support to local farmers protect their property using SelectaDNA.

“This will complement our existing Farm Watch Scheme and is part of an overall package of crime prevention measures which can help to reduce theft of items such as quad bikes, tractors, trailers and power tools. For too long the rural community in our area has suffered losses to criminals and the PCSP is committed to continuing our focus on reducing rural crime.”

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District Commander, Superintendent Davy Moore said: “We are delighted to introduce a further crime prevention measure for our local rural and agricultural community. At the start of February we were pleased to note that rural crime in the District has almost halved.”

The 200 free kits are available from Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon PCSP ring call 028 3752 9646 or email pcsp@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk for more information.