A family which has raised more than £200,000 for the Southern Area Hospice and the NI Children’s Hospice through its annual tractor run has had two items of machinery stolen from its farm in Armagh.
The Livingstone family is appealing for information after a tractor and agricultural fertiliser sower were stolen from its yard, W A Livingstone’s, in the early hours of Wednesday.
Last year’s tractor run - the fifth organised by Wesley Livingstone and his five sons- was attended by more than 600 tractors, many from the Portadown and surrounding areas.
Stanley Livingstone said the family was overwhelmed by the support it had received from both sides of the community since the theft. “The messages we have been getting on Facebook have been unbelievable.”
And he said this was in marked contrast to the people who stole the machinery, whom he branded as “thugs”.
The John Deere 6210R, registration number UJZ 5092, and the brand new Sulky DX40 Econov fertiliser sower were taken from the yard on the Lisnafeedy Road sometime between 2am and 3am.
The tractor, which took part in the past three tractor runs, has several W A Livingstone and Sons stickers, one on each side of the cab and one on the roof.
The fertiliser also has the sticker emblazoned on the back.
DUP MLA for Newry & Armagh William Irwin condemned the latest rural crime incident.
Mr Irwin said: “Once again a hard working rural family who I know extremely well have been targeted by ruthless criminals and thieves who stole a John Deere tractor and fertiliser sower. This is another despicable crime committed by those who have nothing whatsoever to offer society and prey on decent people in the darkness of the night.
“This type of crime, particularly given its huge value, creates a real sense of anger and revulsion throughout the rural farming community and an increased visible Police presence particularly during the early hours is essential to reassure the local community.”
Mr Irwin urged anyone with information on the tractor to contact police.