A new campaign has been launched to tackle rural crime following a rise in the number of reported incidents.
Fifty-three rural crimes were reported in Antrim and Newtownabbey last year compared to 35 in the borough in 2015.
Across Northern Ireland there was a rise from 553 incidents during 2015 to 560 last year.
In response, the Rural Crime Partnership which includes representatives from the Department of Justice (DoJ), Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), NFU Mutual (NFU) and Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFC), is working with Crimestoppers to encourage reporting and ask the public to give information anonymously about rural crime across Northern Ireland.
The Partnership says: “Crime affecting rural communities can have a knock-on effect on all of us. Criminals can target isolated areas and hard-to-protect buildings. By appealing for more eyes and ears across the countryside, raising awareness of the signs of rural crime and urging the public to contact Crimestoppers anonymously, we can tackle those who seek to target the rural community in this way.”
PSNI Superintendent Brian Kee, service lead for rural and wildlife crime said: “Information received from Crimestoppers will be combined with intelligence from other sources to build a more detailed picture of rural crime.”
UFU President Barclay Bell added: “Don’t wait for crime to happen. Have a look around your premises, and try to do so with a thief’s eye, looking for vulnerable spots and areas in permanent darkness. This could help make your property less appealing to a thief.”
Farmers should report anything suspicious to the PSNI on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.