New scheme could reduce rural thefts

In light of the increase in metal and machinery thefts across farms in Co Longford in recent months, local IFA Co Chairman, Andrew McHugh has indicated that IFA is calling for the introduction of a ‘track and trace’ compliance scheme, which would compel all scrap metal dealers to record the source of the scrap metal received. It is also envisaged that the scheme would include mandatory checks by local authorities and An Garda Síochána, which would see regular inspections of records and premises.

In light of the increase in metal and machinery thefts across farms in Co Longford in recent months, local IFA Co Chairman, Andrew McHugh has indicated that IFA is calling for the introduction of a ‘track and trace’ compliance scheme, which would compel all scrap metal dealers to record the source of the scrap metal received. It is also envisaged that the scheme would include mandatory checks by local authorities and An Garda Síochána, which would see regular inspections of records and premises.

Following the recent publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), Mr McHugh said that the figures “confirmed” the increased incidence of robberies and thefts reported by IFA members, often accompanied by threats and intimidation. “IFA is getting reports of valuable machinery disappearing from farmyards and fields all over the country as part of work carried out by a sophisticated network of criminals,” he added. “It is becoming increasingly evident that those behind the thefts have access to significant resources that enables them to steal large machines, and store them for some time before disposing of them. What is of most concern is the fact that over 60 percent of thefts and related offences remain undetected.”

He went on to say that the matter needed to be addressed and the new ‘track and trace’ compliance scheme would assist, by monitoring the movement of scrap metal and identify individuals that trade illegally in such materials. “If we cannot stop the theft of machinery at source, then we need an effective deterrent at the point of sale,” he explained. “It is not good enough for dealers to accept goods at face value without checking their ownership. A robust compliance system would close off the outlet for those responsible for the thefts, as dealers would face the consequences of receiving stolen goods.”