Farmers have been reminded about the need for security of their vehicles because of the risk of rural thefts.

Ulster Unionist Party Justice spokesperson and MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Neil Somerville says he wants to reinforce the message to those who own agricultural vehicles such as tractors to ensure they are secured within their property.

He said: “I know my colleague Tom Elliott MP is keen to get this message across and I to join him in emphasizing to famers particularly in the run-up to Christmas, to make sure all of your farm machinery and vehicles are secure. Fermanagh and South Tyrone unfortunately has a high level of rural thefts of farm machinery and vehicles such as tractors, which is why I would like to remind farmers of the constant danger surrounding thefts of farm vehicles.” “Thankfully the PSNI are able to assist owners by marking their machinery and vehicles so as the police will have a better chance when it comes to recovering a stolen vehicle. I would strongly encourage everyone to contact the PSNI and make use of this available service. If you witness any suspicious activity around your farm or land, do not hesitate to call the PSNI immediately as these thefts must not continue.” “Criminals nowadays are going around in gangs during daylight hours and targeting next victim. Most of these rural thefts occur during the night, so again I would urge everybody with farming machinery and vehicles to contact the PSNI to get their vehicles marked and tagged and also ensure you have adequate security measures in place to protect your protect from these thieves.” The Ulster Farmers Union and NFU Mutual have also urged farmers to review security arrangements to protect against theft.

Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President, Barclay Bell said: “Rural crime happens all year round, but with the evenings getting darker there is now more opportunity for thieves.

“Farmers are already aware of this important issue but we are urging them to be extra vigilant and to take those extra simple steps to ensure their livestock, machinery and equipment is protected.” Martin Malone, NFU Mutual Regional Manager for Northern Ireland, said; We’re doing everything we can to reduce the devastating impact of crime in the countryside.

Commenting on behalf of the PSNI Superintendent Brian Kee said: “We understand the impact that any type of crime has on families and communities. We also appreciate the human impact that crime against the farming community has on farmers, their families, farm workers, their business and the wider rural community.