Farmyards are like supermarkets for criminals during the winter months, Meath crime prevention officer Dean Kerins has told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Kerins has urged farmers to secure valuables around the farm before the winter to avoid potential burglaries.

“These people will take advantage of anything not secured down. Locally, a John Deere tractor was stolen a couple of weeks back with consistent reports of attempted machinery theft,” Garda Kerins said.

“Farmers need to take the temptation away and improve the security in their yards. These security measures don’t have to be very expensive, common sense is the most valuable precaution you can use.”

Black market

An Garda Síochána offers a property marking service to farmers - Eircodes can be engraved into valuable machinery, which Garda Kerins believes is a great deterrent to thefts.

“With COVID-19 restrictions, we haven’t had as many property marking opportunities this year as we usually do, but I have still been out to farms on request to make these engravings.

“The black market is always getting busier.The temptation will always be there to pick up a product with a few pound knocked off the top. My advice is never to buy from these bogus sellers, they could be setting you up to get caught.”

The crime prevention officer has called on buyers to report sellers of items with Eircodes engraved into them.

Eye in the sky

Kerins warned that drones are now being used by criminals to scope out properties in advance of a robbery.

“Farmers should be aware of this and report any sightings. The best measures to take to secure your farm is install cameras, sensor lights and have strong secure gates at the entry to your farmyard.

“These small investments might seem expensive, but replacing stolen property will cost you much more.”

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