The theft of a digger from outside a church in Aughnacloy has prompted a call from DUP Assembly Member, Maurice Morrow, for police to do more to tackle crime in rural areas.
According to Lord Morrow, the Hitachi digger was stolen from opposite Clonaneese Presbyterian Church during an “overnight heist” between Thursday October 8 and Friday October 9.
The DUP MLA warned this latest incident, which follows the theft of 13 cattle from the Caledon area in recent weeks, shows that those behind the crimes have a “clear focus” on targeting the rural community.
“These machines aren’t small and it took contrived efforts to remove this particular digger from the site where it had been left by the owners”, continued Lord Morrow.
“It did not vaporise into thin air and it similarly won’t magically materialise elsewhere without significant assistance from criminal elements.
“Not only is this an expensive piece of equipment which the owner has had to pay for, its absence is causing further loss to his trade.”
The Fermanagh-South Tyrone representative said he has contacted the PSNI Chief Constable, calling for an urgent review of patrol car cover across Mid Ulster, adding:
“I am calling on the PSNI to step up their rural crime initiatives in the wake of these crimes which are seriously detrimentally impacting on communities. I am aggrieved to have been informed there are presently just three PSNI patrol cars covering the Mid Ulster area from Swatragh to Fivemiletown, and it is abundantly clear criminals are taking full advantage of this.
“I have written to the Chief Constable requesting an urgent review of patrol car cover and indeed an update on these rural crimes.
“I appeal to anyone with even the slightest information to bring it to police in an effort to tackle this upsurge of criminality against rural communities.”