A part-time farmer who arrived at his Bellanaleck out-farm last week to discover that seven tyres had been slashed on two trailers has called for anyone with information to contact the police.

Alexis Maguire estimates the cost to repair the damaged tyres will be over £1,000.

The full-time Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) meat inspector has “never been targeted like this before” and has his suspicions as to who is responsible.

The attack on Mr. Maguire’s property comes as the PSNI’s latest agricultural and rural crime statistics show a fall in the number of crimes recorded in rural communities.

Last Friday morning he went to his out-farm on the Cleenish Road and found that five tyres had been slashed on a 14-foot tri-axle Ivor Williams cattle trailer and two tyres had been slashed on a 10 tonne Woods tipping trailer.
“They are being repaired in Modern Tyres and I expect the cost to be in excess of £1,000,” said Mr. Maguire.
“I am saddened that the area of Ardonagh has seen an increase in criminal activity in the last 18 months. I am not surprised my property was attacked,” he stated.

Police in Enniskillen are also appealing for information following Mr. Maguire’s report of criminal damage at a property in the Cleenish Road area of Bellanaleck. 

Sergeant Michael Patton said: “Police received a report just after 1pm on Saturday, February 3 that tyres of two pieces of machinery at a farm had been damaged. It’s believed the incident occurred sometime between November 2017 and 10:30am on Friday, 2 February. 
“I am appealing to anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact police in Enniskillen on the non-emergency number quoting reference number 602 of 03/02/18.”

He added: “Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100 per cent anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

Nearby quad supplier Sam Gault, owner of Gault Plant at Bellanaleck was robbed over Christmas. A trailer and a quad worth £6,000 were stolen and have never been recovered. This was the first time he had been targeted in 30 years.
“I believe a bit more police activity would help,” Mr. Gault told The Impartial Reporter. He added: “Even if they were out driving the roads more, it might deter criminals. These crimes happen in the middle of the night so more policing of the roads might apprehend criminals, rather than leaving it up to the owners themselves.”
Commenting on the PSNI agri crime statistics Superintendent Brian Kee said: “While we take the position that one crime against the rural community is one too many, it is encouraging to note that, according to the latest quarterly update, there has been a 11 per cent  reduction in agri crime in 2017 compared with 2016 and a 47 per cent reduction since 2010-11.”
He acknowledged that “statistics only tell part of the story” and they “do not account for the severe impact theft can have on a farming business, family and community.”
Police are concerned at “an apparent increase in the theft of quads in the first few weeks of 2018” and are asking members of the public to report anything suspicious to police as soon as possible.
“We know from our work with victims of crime that every incident has an impact on individuals, families and the community as a whole. Police remain committed to keeping people safe and we will work hard with the community and partner agencies into the future, including the Rural Crime Partnership, PCSPs, An Gardaí Siochana and a number of other agencies. We remain committed to working with the farming community to drive this figure down even further,” said Superintendent Kee.
“We are not complacent, we continue to seek ways in which to disrupt and detect criminals who target rural communities.”
He advised the farming community to “spend a bit of time reviewing your security, it will go a long way to helping reduce your chance of becoming a victim of crime.”
Superintendent Kess said: “We also want to work with you to prevent thefts, and offer free advice from your local crime prevention officer. Ring 101 for more information.
“If possible please keep quads etc. out of sight and kept in a secure shed and apply locks and chains to ensure they are secure. Always remove the keys. GPS systems can also be fitted to quads.”
He concluded: “We would ask that if you notice something which does not look right, are aware of machinery or equipment being moved at odd times phone police on the 101 number as soon as possible.”