Neighbourhood Police Officers in Ballymoney spent all day on Wednesday ‘blitzing’ the local farming community as part of their on-going Farmwatch initiative.
Inspector David Anderson explained: “Although the level of farm crime in the Ballymoney area is relatively low, we are aware of the impact that theft of machinery or livestock can have and our Farmwatch programme aims to make the farm as secure from thieves as practicably possible. For the past 18 months we have been carrying out farm visits to identify vulnerabilities to farmers, give them useful crime prevention advice and to glean any useful information they may have about suspicious activity or who is involved in farm crime.
On Wednesday we dedicated all of our available officers to this initiate and we visited approximately 30 farms in areas including Finvoy, Rasharkin, Balnamore, Corkey and Cloughmills. Each farmer is provided with an Information Pack sponsored by Ballymoney Police and Community Safety Partnership and signage is erected to indicate that the area is part of the ‘Farmwatch’ programme. We have found that our officers have been very well received and farmers have been reassured that we take the issue of farm crime seriously.
Inspector Anderson continued: ‘We are well advanced with our objective of visiting every farm in the Borough of Ballymoney and hope to complete this by the end of the year. Other aspects of ‘Farmwatch’ include trailer marking and to date we have marked over 170 trailers at a number of locations around Ballymoney. The next trailer marking opportunity is on Saturday 11th October at Dirraw Farm and Equestrian Centre, 10 Dirraw Road, Ballymoney from 10am to 2pm. This is a free service and all trailers and horseboxes can be given a security marking which makes it less attractive to thieves and helps Police quickly establish the legitimate owner of the vehicle.
Ulster Farmers Union deputy President Barclay Bell commented: “Rural communities need to feel safe and there’s nothing more reassuring than having a police service prepared to come to you and give the guidance you need. I commend Chief Inspector Cairns and Inspector Anderson and their team who are working hard to make the needs of the rural people and hope that we can work together in future to do our bit in making all of Northern Ireland’s rural areas a safer place to live and work.”