The IFA chairman believes that up to 400 farmers have been targeted in his area by criminal gangs working across the country.

“When you go along every road there’s roughly four or five places that have been targeted,” Farrelly stated.

Farrelly said that farmers were being targeted during the day during their off-farm employment, and were often reluctant to come forward and report crimes for fear of looking vulnerable and attracting more criminals to the area.

“Farmers don’t want to be more attention to be drawn to what happened, and they feel like they equipment won’t be recovered anyway.”

Farrelly added: “There’s probably a couple of gangs in the country at it, whether they’re linked or not I don’t know.”

“If they didn’t have an outlet for this stuff they wouldn’t be stealing it, when you go to a mart 90% of the equipment you see has probably been stolen.”

The county IFA chairman for the environment also stated that he believed crime in the area was on the rise and encouraged all farmers to use the IFA’s Theft Stop service, which helps to identify equipment if it’s stolen.

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€15,000 worth of equipment stolen