Farmers must be vigilant over festive season, says Irwin

DUP MLA William Irwin has urged the public to remain vigilant in the run up to Christmas as prolific criminals look for easy ‘pickings’ in rural communities all across Northern Ireland.

Speaking following discussions with Kieran Quinn the local police inspector for the Armagh area, Mr Irwin urged the rural community to be particularly vigilant in the lead up to Christmas and report anything suspicious via the 101 PSNI telephone line.

‘Whilst all of us rush around and make preparation for Christmas there are those in society who sadly use this season of the year to take advantage of the fact that many homes and properties across Northern Ireland contain lots of presents and valuables set aside as Christmas gifts.

‘This provides additional incentive to criminals and gangsters who look upon this time of year as an opportunity to gain ‘easy pickings’ and therefore I would urge householders and the rural community in general to secure their properties and provide as much of a deterrent to thieves as they can. Alarm systems, security lights, well secured doors and windows and lights left on in homes all help to deter those with criminal intent at this time of year.”

The Chair of the Agriculture Committee also urged the farming community to ensure that high value items such as quads are secured and stored safely out of reach of those criminals who would seek to deprive someone of their much cherished Christmas present.

He said: “Vigilance by the community is the key to us all having a safe and peaceful Christmas and again I implore people to report suspicious activity or behaviour immediately to the PSNI.

“The PSNI have assured me that additional patrols will be committed to deterring and preventing crime in rural areas this Christmas and I very much welcome this initiative and hope that in tandem with local vigilant communities we will all be able to enjoy a safe and secure Christmas and New Year period.”