An enterprising criminal gang has struck again at a Dungannon farm in spite of high tech security measures installed by desperate livestock owners.
Such has been the spate of cattle thefts in the area, fed-up farmer Robert Capper had been forced to install security cameras covering every part of his yard,
The expensive equipment should have made the farm one of the safest in the country, however, thieves were still able to make off with ten of his prime Charolais heifers, worth £13,000, in the early hours of last Friday morning.
This was the latest in a series of cattle thefts to have befallen Mr Capper and his neighbours over recent years.
Farmers believe that the thieves are smuggling the cattle across the border and slaughtering them for sale on the black market.
“I don’t know what more I can do,” said Mr Capper.
“Every square yard of the main farmyard is covered by security cameras of one form or another. The cattle were taken from an outlying field, which we just cannot cover with cameras.”
Mr Capper went on to point out that the modus operandi of the thieves in this most recent incident was identical to that which was followed back in 2012 – the last time that cattle were stolen from the farm.
“The thieves cut three strands of wire at the bottom of the field in which the cattle were grazing and drove them to a shed on a nearby farm.
“From there they selected the best ten animals in the group and then drove off. We could see the tracks of the vehicle the next morning.”
Mr Capper pointed out that a number of his neighbours have lost cattle in rustling incidents over the past number of years.
“In our own case we have worked closely with the PSNI, to the extent that the police actually branded a number of the cattle on the farm this time last year. And, as it turned out, two of the branded animals were in the group taken last Friday morning.”
Mr Capper is also concerned about the insurance implications of this latest theft.
“It’s getting to the stage where I won’t be able to get insurance cover for this type of incident, or the premiums will be increased to an extent where it just won’t become feasible to seek this type of cover on our stock.
“The stolen animals taken last Friday are worth in the region of £1,300 per head. We bought them in as weanlings this time last year.
“We reported the robbery immediately to the PSNI, who came out to investigate the incident without delay.”
Mr Capper concluded: “Something has to be done to stop the scourge of cattle rustling in South Tyrone. It is making life totally unbearable for farmers in this area.”
Police in Dungannon have confirmed that they are investigating the report of the theft of ten heifers from a field in the Tamnamore Road area on Friday 17th October.
Inspector Keith Jamieson said: “Police received a report that eight Charolais and two Limousin heifers had been taken from a field sometime between the afternoon of Thursday 16th and the morning of Friday 17th October.
“Enquiries are ongoing into this incident and I would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious vehicles or persons in the area on Thursday or Friday to contact officers in Dungannon on 101.