The Ulster Unionist Assembly member for Newry & Armagh, Danny Kennedy MLA, has expressed his ‘serious concerns’ about the escalating crime rate in the rural areas of his constituency.
Mr Kennedy said he is ‘very perturbed’ at the amount of criminal activity happening presently throughout the Newry & Armagh area.
He added: “This appears to range between criminal gangs from the Republic of Ireland carrying out raids and robberies of properties and then returning South to cattle rustling and farm machinery theft impacting on local farmers and rural dwellers.”
Mr Kennedy cited recent incidents over the past two weeks alone in his constituency ranging from the armed hold-up in Redrock which included a robbery and a serious vehicle accident that caused injury to a local lady to numerous incidents of stolen livestock and farm machinery along the entire length and breadth of the Newry & Armagh constituency.
Mr Kennedy said: “I was alerted to the theft of livestock from a farmer in the Killyruddan area of Hamiltonsbawn over the weekend. The situation appears to be almost out of control and I call on the PSNI to deploy additional resources and lead a determined campaign to stamp out all levels of criminality in the area.
“There is now an increasingly dangerous perception held by law-abiding people in this constituency that the rural area has been abandoned to all types of criminals and rascals – and people living in the countryside feel vulnerable and afraid, especially the elderly. This needs to be addressed urgently. We need additional Policing resources - and we need them now.
“My criticisms are not being levelled at existing police officers already working in the area who are clearly attempting to do their best in very challenging circumstances - but rather the remote and somewhat complacent attitude shown by the Senior Command. I’ll be demanding action on behalf of my long suffering constituents at forthcoming meetings with police chiefs and through my party colleague on the Policing Board, and by raising my concerns directly with the local Justice Minister.”