A new initiative aimed at tackling rural crime and helping the rural community to protect itself from criminals has been launched in Antrim. Called “Farm Watch”, it has been developed by the Antrim Police and Community Safety Partnership working with the local farming community. Its aims are to promote the importance of vigilance and highlight the need for improved communication from within rural and farming communities and within rural communities and the PSNI.
It was setup to effectively address the worrying increase in the thefts of plants, farm machinery, machinery parts and livestock from farms and remote rural properties in the area. With it being a well-known fact that potential thieves and burglars often prey on isolated rural properties, the scheme will provide practical assistance to farmers helping prevent a crime happening in the first place and assisting with detections.
Farmers and people living in the country who sign up to Farm Watch will receive specific `Farm Watch` roadside/property signage to act as a deterrent to would-be intruders, as well as being part of a text and email alert scheme. Most significantly they will also be able to avail of a new scheme where they can mark their farm machinery with the unique code within seven days of receipt. Marking property makes it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen machinery as well as making it easier for police to return any recovered items to their rightful owners.
Practical crime prevention advice is also available from police and crime prevention officers to farmers and landowners, to help ensure that property and equipment are as secure as possible. This new scheme should be a welcome help in the fight against farm machinery theft.