Clarke concerned at increase in plant and agricultural thefts

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Alliance Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke is urging owners of rural dwellings and farm outbuildings to show extra vigilance following a rise in the number of break ins in rural areas near Castlewellan of farm and agricultural plant machinery. Clarke believes there may be a number of people working as part of a sophisticated criminal gang to survey rural farm dwellings – particularly in isolated areas – for various types of expensive farm and plant equipment being stolen to order. Speaking to Newry Times, Clarke stated: “Over the last month I have spoken to a number of rural farmers and agricultural contractors within the Castlewellan area who have become increasingly alarmed at the number of rural farms and buildings being targeted for various type of agricultural and plant machinery. Jeeps and quads as well as mini diggers have been stolen and this is adding to owners increasing securirty on their farms and also residential properties.” “The recent thefts,” Clarke continued, “Are also causing financial hardship and increased insurance premiums as some of the plant machinery is virtually new and quite expensive to replace. I would urge all owners to ensure that any type of plant or agricultural equipment is securely stored and has the appropriate marking and chassis number for police identification. There are criminals seeking to steal trailers, tractors and farm machinery with many of these thefts taking place at night on the look out for machinery that they can steal and dispose of quickly.” He added, “I have raised my concerns with the PSNI and would urge farmers and contractors to watch their machinery and to contact the PSNI following any suspicious activity near their properties.”
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