Operation Thor sees winter burglaries fall 23%
The winter phase of Operation Thor has seen a 23% drop in burglaries, after a rise in burglaries up to October 2017.

Burglaries nationally fell by 23% during November and December under the winter phase of Operation Thor, according to provisional figures from An Garda Síochána.

This fall comes after there was a rise in burglaries for a number of months up to October 2017.

In the southeastern region, 40% less burglaries were reported in December compared with October, 29% less in the eastern region, 25% less in the western region, 22% less in the southern region, 18% less in the Dublin metropolitan region (DMR) and 15% less in the northern region, over the same period.

It has been established in Ireland and elsewhere that a surge in burglaries of about 20% is likely to arise in the winter months, when daylight hours are at the lowest level, in the absence of effective preventative measures.

Having observed an increase in burglaries in September and October 2017, An Garda Síochána prepared an operational plan for a winter phase of Operation Thor.

This involved the undertaking of targeted enforcement and preventative activity, designed to prevent potential burglars from exploiting the reduced hours of daylight in the months November 2017 to April 2018.

Organised crime gangs

A key part of the winter phase of Operation Thor has been the targeting of organised crime gangs involved in burglaries.

In recent weeks’ members of these gangs have been arrested on a number of occasions in circumstances where high powered ‘get-away’ vehicles were identified and intercepted.

The fact that 10 targets who have recently been arrested in the course of Operation Thor, have accumulated a total of 155 criminal convictions reflects the extent of the challenge facing An Garda Síochána in tackling the criminality involved.

Prevention

A critical element of Operation Thor is preventing burglaries from happening in the first place.

In this regard, the public have a crucial to role to play in enhancing their home security.

An Garda Síochána is advising people to Lock Up and Light Up as most burglaries occur between 5pm and 11pm in winter months and over 50% of burglaries take place either through the front or back door.

Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations, John O’Driscoll stated: “We are particularly aware of the vulnerability of older people for whom a burglary can be a very traumatic experience and we are determined to identify and apprehend those who exploit their vulnerability.

“The positive start to the winter phase of Operation Thor is encouraging and we intend achieving more success throughout the remaining months.”

Operation Thor, which led to a 30% reduction in burglaries following its introduction in November 2015, is a multi-strand approach to tackling burglaries with an emphasis on preventing the crime from happening in the first instance.

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Another fall in Global Dairy Trade prices
The latest Global Dairy Trade shows a drop in the price of butter but rise in whole milk powder price.

The latest Global Dairy Trade shows a drop in the price of butter but a rise in the whole milk powder price.

The event for this week concluded with the GDT Price Index down 1.7%

The price of butter dipped 8.1% to €4,237/t, cheddar 3.3% to €3,076.38/t, skim milk powder increased 0.8% to €1,675.92/t and milk powder is up 1.5% to €2,543.40/t.

In addition, rennet casein is down 9.5%, to €3,937/t.

Simplicity at the core of Wicklow Better Farm
Brian Doran farms grassland and tillage in Co Wicklow, with a large crowd attending his farm walk.

A crowd of over 200 people attended the first of two Teagasc/ Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef Challenge walks taking place on Brian Doran's farm just outside Carnew in Co Wicklow.

Brian is farming 43ha of grassland and 41ha of tillage. The grassland area is split into two blocks. The 32ha main block is situated around the yard, with the remaining 11ha five miles away.

Simplicity is at the core of Brian’s system, with 50 suckler cows and calves running in one block and a 55 steers and heifers running in another. All progeny are sold as steer and heifer beef.

The walk of Brian's farm includes five main stand focusing on areas and BETTER farm challenges such as herd health, breeding, grassland management, meeting the markets and dealing with the current drought and fodder problems.

The farm is no different to many farms across the country and is feeding both silage and concentrates in an effort to prolong the rotation and save what grass covers are left.

Each of the stands generated a good discussion between the audience and the speakers which included members of the Irish Farmers Journal livestock team, the BETTER farm management team and local Teagasc B&T advisors.

Here are just some of the main quotes from the day:

"Going forward, Brian's farm is capable of producing a gross margin of €1210/ha, a rise of almost €400/ha in five years” – Tommy Cox, Teagasc BETTER farm programme adviser.

“Reducing the calving spread has definitely reduced the labour on the farm. I like the black Limousin cows, lots of milk and easy calved” – Brian Doran, host BETTER farmer.

“Grazing infrastructure, soil fertility, grazing management and reseeding are the most important points of grassland management, in that order” – Hugh Mahon, Teagasc B&T adviser.

“If you are to take only one thing from today, it is that lime is the single most critical factor in soil fertility and in growing more grass” – Bob Sheriff, Teagasc B&T adviser.

“There definitely isn’t enough knowledge around the pricing grid system among farmers” – Denis Brennan, Slaney Foods

“Quality assurance is the bare minimum requirement from all our suooer market customers. It’s an absolute must for us when we are selling our beef.” – Denis Brennan, Slaney Foods

Another walk is scheduled for 5pm this evening on Brian Doran’s farm. On Thursday, the Teagasc/ Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef challenge will head west to Nigel O’Kane's farm in Co Galway for another two BETTER Farm beef challenge walks.

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