MID ULSTER MLA Ian Milne has said that the dedicated farming crime unit being set up within the PSNI must be properly resourced to protect farmers against organised gangs.
The Sinn Fein assembly member was speaking after it emerged that 9,000 cattle had been stolen in Northern Ireland over the last three years, with some of these taken from farms in the Mid Ulster area.
“In this time not one person has been arrested or charged with any crime related to this rustling,” said Mr Milne.
“At an average price of £1000 per head we can see that this is a multi million pound loss to the farming community as on top of livestock there is also the theft of farming equipment.
“This criminal enterprise that needs to be tackled head on,” he said.
“Sinn Féin is on record of campaigning for a dedicated unit to tackle specific crime against farms as opposed to overall rural crime. While I welcome the fact that a new dedicated unit was announced a few months ago the latest figures show no decline in this type of crime.
“I am calling on the PSNI to ensure that the new unit is resourced so that farmers are fully protected from these criminal gangs and that they begin to have confidence in the PSNI in tackling this type of crime.”