Newry and Armagh DUP Assembly candidate William Irwin has welcomed a PSNI rural crime operation in South Armagh which uncovered irregularities in farm animal traceability.
Mr Irwin said that an operation was also mounted by the Garda in the Republic of Ireland to coincide with the PSNI raid in South Armagh.
I very much welcome the PSNI’s efforts in tackling and targeting organised rural crime and in particular their focus on recent livestock thefts.William Irwin
He stated: “I very much welcome the PSNI’s efforts in tackling and targeting organised rural crime and in particular their focus on recent livestock thefts.”
He added: “There has been a growing concern amongst the farming community that livestock is being routinely stolen by organised crime gangs who are then flouting every traceability rule in the book to put these animals into the food chain. In this operation police were acting under specific intelligence and that type of interaction from the community is vital in these types of operations.”
He stated: “The impact of this livestock and machinery theft has a detrimental effect on our farming industry and I know from speaking with farmers who have been affected by this type of crime, it costs farmer’s money and also great inconvenience.
“The PSNI has been successful in recent weeks targeting specific areas where animal thefts have been regularly occurring and after their actions, levels of crime reduced noticeably.”
Mr Irwin concluded: “The issue of livestock theft brings up all sorts of serious issues in terms of animal records and traceability and of course the question of where these animals are ending up and what is happening with these records.
“I welcome this intelligence led operation on rural crime on both sides of the border and I would urge police to continue in their efforts to stamp it out.”