Not a day goes by that somebody somewhere doesn’t become a victim of rural crime, and yet while blame for such actions is firmly laid at the door of crime gangs from cities and towns across the region, locally some of those impacted believe that the thieves live a lot closer to home than we would like to believe.
Padraig Flood lives in Edgeworthstown and has a farm of land on the outskirts of the town at Bracklin, and another eight miles away in Rathowen.
Within a period of seven days, oil and diesel worth several thousand euros was robbed from tractors and tanks on both farms.
Padraig says he knows who did it and as far as he is concerned, “they don’t live a million miles away”.
The first of the thefts occurred during the first week in October - on the Friday night.
“They emptied three tractors and a load shovel at the farm in Rathowen,” he confirmed, before adding that six nights later he was robbed again, this time at the farm in Bracklin.
“I happened to be away in England for a few days and when I came back, I discovered there was 800 litres of oil gone from a tank at the farmyard in Bracklin,” Padraig continued. He says he reported both incidents to the Gardaí in Granard and Rathowen whom he added, came out and took fingerprints and did what they had to do.
“But to be honest with you, I’m pretty sure that I know who did this.”
The local farmer went on to say that it was his belief that the thieves were not professional and evidence of this was strewn across his farmyard in the aftermath of the robberies.
Padraig did manage, however to find a part of the van involved, and was able to source a serial number from that.
“I did a bit of my own investigation and I know now that the perpetrators are living close to home,” he continued.
Shaken by it all, Padraig is now endeavouring to upgrade security at both his farms and says he will not buy any more diesel in bulk until that security system is up and running.
“I’m in the process now of getting an alarm system at both farms; there is no point locking my tractors because the keys are universal these days,” he added.
“The Gardaí tell me that there has not been a huge amount of diesel theft in recent times because it has become a lot cheaper to buy and the weather has been very mild so it hasn’t been needed for home fuel.
“I won’t be buying any more, I can tell you, until I have proper security measures in place.”