North Antrim MLA Robin Swann has warned the farming community to beware of “the growing scourge of spud stealing”.
“Our hard-pressed agricultural community has had to contend with many serious difficulties and challenges this year alone with the severe weather, and we do not want a situation developing whereby farmers have to patrol their lands and buildings both day and night to protect their property from thieves.
“I also urge the community to assist both the police and farmers by reporting anything suspicious to the PSNI. My warning comes following a spate of rustling issues last year which saw large numbers of sheep being stolen and fodder thefts this year, so potato farmers to be on the alert.
“Spud stealing has already become a crisis on the British mainland. We need to ensure it does not become an equal crisis here in Northern Ireland, and especially in the rural constituency of North Antrim where agriculture is a major industry.
“It is imperative that we keep the spud stealing gangs out of Ulster,” said the MLA.