DUP MLA William Irwin has spoken of his disgust after a Poyntzpass farmer had 32 lambs stolen in one incident in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Mr Irwin said the thieves had loaded a trailer to capacity with 32 lambs but had attempted to steal 34 and obviously having filled the trailer to capacity left two lambs in the pen.
This incident follows another raid last Friday evening where a farmer close to Hamiltonsbawn lost eight calves and a valuable compressor from his farm.
Mr Irwin said: “Both these recent incidents were brazen acts on two hard working farmers and have left both farmers feeling let down by the PSNI. In the incident at the sheep farm if the thieves could have squeezed one more lamb onto the trailer they would have done, such is the blatancy of these criminals.
“It is absolutely sickening for the sheep farmer to have such a large number of his flock stolen and it is very concerning that we are now seeing this type of activity including calves, cattle and machinery thefts on a more frequent basis.”
Mr Irwin confirmed he would be meeting with police in the coming days to further voice his concerns, adding there is a ‘very strong depth of feeling’ in the farming community against these continuing thefts.
He continued: “What is more alarming is that out in the farming community there is a wide consensus as to the names of the individuals involved in this crime spree and it is now up the PSNI to more quickly monitor and apprehend those responsible for this activity which is damaging our farming industry.
“Our farming community has suffered constantly from rural crime and it is having a huge impact on farming and indeed farmer’s attitudes to the effectiveness of the PSNI in dealing with these criminal elements in society.
“The police need to urgently review how they police rural areas and it is vital that this current trend is addressed.”