Rural crime on the rise in County Longford

With a 25 percent increase in the rise of copper thefts in Co Longford over the past 12 months and a noted increase in the stealing of livestock and machinery from farms, gardaí in Longford have issued a warning this week for people to exercise extra vigilance on their properties, to report any “suspicious activity” to gardaí and to ensure that locks on gates, sheds, homes and commercial buildings are secure at all times.

With a 25 percent increase in the rise of copper thefts in Co Longford over the past 12 months and a noted increase in the stealing of livestock and machinery from farms, gardaí in Longford have issued a warning this week for people to exercise extra vigilance on their properties, to report any “suspicious activity” to gardaí and to ensure that locks on gates, sheds, homes and commercial buildings are secure at all times.

Superintendent Denis Shields, Longford Garda Station, said that the rise in rural thefts was widespread across the county and he advised members of the public to avoid business dealings with people “whom they did not know” as there is currently a scam in operation which encourages deposit paying for goods or services and when the money is handed over the dealer subsequently “disappears”.

Outlining the rise in rural crime, Supt Shields said suspicious activity should be reported to gardaí immediately. CCTV has also assisted gardaí with their inquires over the past number of months, so if it is possible to install CCTV, then it should be installed.”

He said in late September, a cow was stolen from a farm in Newtowncashel. That was followed by the theft of sheep from another farm in the Colehill area of south Longford and 2,500 litres of green diesel was then taken from a compound in Newtowncashel.

In early November; 14 ewes, three lambs and one ram – all of whom comprised of Rouge and Suffolk breads – were stolen from a farm on the outskirts of Kenagh village, while over 50 canisters of gas were taken in a burglary in Stonepark on the outskirts of Longford town. Between November 14 and 16 last, thirteen sheep and a blue Ifor Williams trailer were taken from a farm in Moydow while €500 worth of green diesel was stolen in Newtowncashel and a horse trailer taken from a farm in Clonturk. On November 19 last, heating oil was stolen from a private resident in Ballymahon and a week earlier a substantial quantity of oil grease anti freeze was taken in Newtowncashel. A chainsaw was also taken in a burglary in Stonepark on November 25, last.

“There has also been an increase in the theft of copper and in fact this type of theft has increased in the Longford District by 25 percent in the past 12 months,” Superintendent Shields explained.

“Areas where there are vacant properties are more likely to be targeted by this type of theft and we are appealing to owners of these properties to ensure that the water is turned off and that a close eye is kept on them.”

The superintendent went on to say that members of the public had been particularly vigilant with regard to agri related thefts and local gardaí were being contacted regularly with regard to “suspicious activity” in rural areas.

“If people notice anything suspicious, they are taking the vehicle registration and contacting gardaí immediately,” Superintendent Shields added. “This is greatly assisting gardaí with their inquiries and there are a number of prosecutions before the courts at this stage because of that assistance. Machinery is being stolen for the export market and we are advising everyone in Co Longford to be cautious about who you are dealing with because this scam that is in operation is catching people off guard and once the deposit is handed over, the goods or services are not forthcoming. Everyone should be checking property and machinery regularly.”