Almost 50% of farmers who have been impacted by rural crime have cited trespassing as the main problem they face, an Irish Farmers Journal survey of 390 farmers has found.

Several farmers who responded to the survey said that trespassers hunting with dogs was an issue with one respondent explaining how their son was threatened with a pick axe handle when he confronted a trespasser on their farm.

Machinery being stolen from farmyards was an issue for 40% of farmers, while 31% of farmers experienced break-ins to houses. Intimidation was an issue for 18% of farmers while just 4% and 7%, respectively, of farmers had issues with stolen livestock and the theft of money.

Farmers were also given the opportunity to tell of their experience when it came to rural crime.

The top five reported incidents of rural crime were, in order: quad, fertiliser and trailer theft, farmhouse break-ins, theft of diesel and power tools, cattle disturbance and property damage and trespassing.

Major incidents

Farmers were also given free rein to report any major incidences of rural crime experienced on their farm or in their locality.

Such incidences included the murder of a respondent’s neighbour, as well as unauthorised firearms being used and intimidation.

Multiple reports of dogs attacking sheep were also among the incidents reported.


There were also experiences of farmers who found that property on their land was used as a vehicle for drug storage – one farmer said a trough which was located away from the farm was used as a drugs drop-off point.

Overall, 25% of just over 1,500 farmers who took part in the survey said they had been impacted by rural crime.