PSNI Need Dedicated Farm Crime Unit - McMullan
Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has reiterated his call for the PSNI to set a separate category of crimes against the farming community after the theft of over 200 sheep from a farm in the Loughgiel area.
Mr. McMullan said,
“There needs to be a separation between crimes committed against farmers as opposed to crimes committed in rural areas so we can see the total cost of crime against the farming community.
“We now have seen the biggest case of the theft of livestock ever from a farm in Loughgiel and this will undoubtedly cause extensive hardship to the farmer concerned.
“It looks like these sheep were stole to order and probably have been slaughtered already. There is obviously unscrupulous slaughterhouses that are prepared to put farmers at risk by accepting stolen livestock for a quick profit. These need to be identified and closed down and the owners brought to justice.
“For too long crimes against the farming community have been included in with other rural crime figures so we have a distorted view of the total amount this is causing the farming community. Whether it livestock or farming machinery this crime needs to be costed so that the appropriate countermeasures are made available to combat this growing sector in the crime industry.
“I am also calling on tighter regulation at slaughterhouses so that all animals can be traced to their original owner. This would be a huge deterrent to those who are intent in stealing livestock for a quick profit”