Local DUP representatives have expressed concern following the launch of the National Farmer’s Union Rural Crime Report for 2017.
Figures released in the report placed Co Antrim within the 15 hardest hit regions in the UK for rural crimes, namely theft of agricultural equipment, machinery and livestock. In 2016, £903,884 worth of criminal theft was committed within the area, equating to just over a third of all total rural crime costs for Northern Ireland.
South Antrim MP, Paul Girvan said: “The last few years have been difficult for our farming community, with a reduction in farm gate prices bringing many farming families to the brink. On top of this, many farmers have been victims of rural crime, only adding further pressure.”
“The statistics are deeply concerning and I will be meeting with the PSNI and farming groups to discuss what can be done to tackle this scourge in our rural communities.”
Cllr Jordan Greer added: “Efforts must be increased by the PSNI and National Crime Agency to ensure criminal gangs operating within rural areas are adequately monitored and prevented from carrying out more damage to our farming community and economy.
“The community also has its part to play in looking out for our neighbours and reporting suspicious activity. I welcome recent initiatives such as the collaborative work between the PSNI and UFU on the Rural Crime Partnership and other previous schemes supported by the PCSP that aim to improve protection of private property. I would encourage those involved within the agricultural industry to ensure their property is secure and report any suspicious activity to the PSNI.”