A local councillor is to set up a meeting with Chief Inspector Darrin Jones asking for more protection for farmers after a spate of thefts of expensive farming machines in the area.
Councillor Luke Poots claims more policing will help tackle rural crime that has plaqued the area in recent weeks.
A digger was stolen from property on the Ballykine Road near Ballynahinch in August while a John Deere tractor, a Hay Buster as well as a straw machine were stolen from a farm on the Dromore Road, Dromara last Thursday night.
“Chief Constable Matt Baggot said he could police the trouble in Belfast and had in fact ordered in more officers from the mainland before the Parades Commission made any ruling over Ardoyne,” he said.
“I have been approached by several officers who are working above the standard expected but simply do not have the staff required to tackle the on going crime happening in the rural community.
“There have been a number of thefts recently in the Downshire constituency. I have spoken with local farmers and what I’m hearing is not good, Farmers are tired of working tirelessly for someone to come and steal machines from them and subsequently put their insurance premiums up.
“A big issue is the lack of arrests. Some farmers have said when premiums go up and no one has been arrested it is like you are almost paying for someone to have the right to steal off you at your expense.
“Only a couple of years ago in the South Down area locals beat them and wrapped them up in barbed wire. Farmers are now telling me that if the area is not policed then we will resort back to this and worse.”
Lisburn police are reminding farmers about their ‘Farm Watch’ scheme developed by local police, and Community Safety Partnerships.