A Tyrone farmer has located his stolen Ford 4000 tractor and Vicon sower on an abandoned farm, just three miles from his farmyard near Eglish.

Damien Downey told the Irish Farmers Journal that the machinery had been stolen during the last week of April.

“The tractor is stone rotten, she’s only worth about £3,000, but it’s the annoyance of someone coming in and taking her,” Downey said.

“We had her parked up in the yard with the sower on, ready to throw out bagstuff. We never bothered taking the key out of her. You can start them old tractors with a 10p coin if you wanted to.”

Stolen Ford 4000 tractor.

Downey recovered the tractor and sower on 27 April, after days of searching the surrounding area.

Hot property

“A neighbour told me that when thieves take machinery, they leave them sit in a forest or abandoned farmland until the heat goes off them after a few weeks,” Downey continued.

“I didn’t even bother notifying the PSNI of the theft and decided to round up a few neighbours and friends to go out looking for her. There was 12 of us all together out searching and asking locals had they seen anything.

“We found her parked up in an abandoned farmyard, just three miles away, ready to go again. She can only do 10mph or 11mph so we had an idea they wouldn’t be too far away.”

Never be sure

The dairy stock breeder thanked the public for their help in spreading his appeal on social media.

“Even though she mighn’t be worth much, I’m glad to have gotten her back.

"I thought that theft era had passed, but obviously you can never be sure,” Downey said.

“As long as the axles, gear box and back end of the tractor is OK, thieves will be interested in stealing it.”