Tom Elliott MLA Raises Concerns About the Increase of Rural Crime in Northern Ireland

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Tom Elliott MLA Raises Concerns About the Increase of Rural Crime in Northern Ireland

Tom Elliott MLA, Ulster Unionist Agriculture spokesperson, has raised his concerns about rural crime in Northern Ireland after it was reported by the National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual that the cost of rural crime last year in Northern Ireland increased to £2.5 million.

Mr Elliott MLA stated, ‘The increase of 51% from 2021 of rural crime is deeply concerning for many farmers across the province. The equipment and machinery farmers use are expensive and high-tech, especially those using sophisticated GPS equipment. In the space of a year, the police reported that there were 150 agriculture crimes committed between July 2021 and June 2022, with a “significant increase” of GPS thefts on farms.

The rest of the UK has seen a 22% increase in rural crime compared to Northern Ireland’s 51%. Northern Ireland is a smaller and more rural region of the UK, making it more accessible for gangs to commit organised rural crimes. We must protect our farmers as they bring great value to our province, and farmers should try to take more appropriate steps to invest in securing their equipment and machinery to deter theft. Many farmers will be working off their homeland, and these thefts are an assault on their privacy, resulting in them suffering emotionally and financially.

Ulster Unionists are committed to challenging serious and organised crimes as too many communities across the province are plagued with organised criminal gangs involved in serious criminal activity. Ulster Unionists would encourage farmers to take appropriate action to increase their security on equipment by fitting trackers or ways of identifying equipment and increasing surveillance and security on their property.’