Six cattle which were stolen from land in south Mayo at the beginning of last week have been recovered - over 20 miles away in a field outside Balla.

The cattle, a mix of Limousin and Charolais bullocks, belong to John and Niamh Reilly from Shrule Glencorrib in Mayo.

“We got a call last night [Friday night] from the gardaí at three minutes to one and they asked us could we meet them at Ballinrobe Garda Station, they had received a tip-off,” Niamh told the Irish Farmers Journal.

She said that they followed the gardaí to a field outside Balla, where their six cattle had been put into another field with four other cattle. They checked the cattle tags on the animals, which revealed they were indeed their cattle which were stolen earlier in the week.

“There was a young farmer there who spotted a truck dropping off six cattle to a field,” she said, adding that he knew something wasn’t right.

Something fishy

The young farmer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Irish Farmers Journal that he came along at the right time after leaving a relative’s house.

“I was going back the road in the jeep and saw a lorry backed into a gate. I said there’s something fishy going on here because the farmer that owns the field would be doing work like this in the morning and not at night time.

He tumbled over a bank, went through sheep wire, barbed wire and an electric fence. Whoever he is, he got some tumble

“I knew there was four cattle in the field but when I looked in there was 10. I had heard on the radio that six cattle were missing from a farm and six cattle were now in this field,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal.

He said there were two men involved, the driver of the lorry and a second man.

He said the driver of the lorry took off when they saw the lights of his jeep, passing him out where he was pulled in calling his uncle and father for assistance.

“The truck passed over the road and passed out the other man - he left him behind. I drove over to him and said ‘hey, come here, what are you at’ and he took off down the field.

“He tumbled over a bank, went through sheep wire, barbed wire and an electric fence. Whoever he is, he got some tumble,” he said.

He then met his uncle and father on the road and went into the field.

“We couldn’t see him anywhere and the field runs down to a lake. It was daftness in such a quiet part of the country,” he said. He then alerted the gardaí which resulted in the Reillys’ late night phone call to come and identify the cattle.

“Why they picked our part of the country I don’t know but I think they were going to pick up the other four cattle. They’re lovely store cattle,” the young farmer said.


Niamh Reilly told the Irish Farmers Journal that they are “over the moon” that the cattle were recovered. She and her husband John collected them from Balla on Saturday morning, where the young farmer had separated them from the other four cattle in the field and penned them for collection.

A Garda spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal that “gardaí assisted in the recovery of cattle yesterday evening, Friday 10 October 2020, which were believed to have been stolen”. Enquiries are ongoing.

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